You have worked hard over the years for everything you’ve earned. It’s not come easy, and you’re proud of your wealth. You know that you’re set up well for the future, financially speaking, and that’s something that has always been a goal of yours.

If you’re getting divorced, though, you may be a bit worried. Some have pointed to divorce as one of the main ways that people see their personal wealth destroyed, along with issues like disease and disability.

The thing to understand is that California uses community property laws. Not all states do. Those with community property laws on the books, in addition to California, include:

  • Arizona
  • Idaho
  • Nevada
  • Louisiana
  • Texas
  • New Mexico
  • Wisconsin
  • Washington

These laws generally mean that the court assumes you and your spouse equally own all of your property. You need to divide it equally if you split up.

It does not matter if you earned 90 percent of that money while your spouse stayed home or traveled the world. It does not matter if you handled the finances during your marriage, and your spouse had nothing to do with it. The court still assumes that things need to get split in half.

Some have pointed to the divorce of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. His wealth has been listed at $130 billion, making him the wealthiest person in the world. Will his wife get half of that wealth under Washington’s community property laws?

If you’re worried even though you do not have the same level of wealth as someone like Bezos, you have reason to be. Make sure you know all of the legal options at your disposal.