When it comes to property division, there are two legal proceedings that lead the way. The first, and most common, is equitable distribution. Most states follow this form of property division, and it allows for a "fair" distribution of the assets in a marriage. However, "fair" in this context does not mean "equal." This is where community property comes in.
Community property -- which is observed by a handful of states, including California -- is the idea that any asset garnered during the marriage is eligible for a 50/50 split between the divorcing spouses. Of course, there are caveats and exceptions to this rule.
For example, you have to define what marital property is before it is eligible for that 50/50 split. Gifts are not necessarily marital property. Assets that were received before the marriage are not marital property. Pensions and inheritance are not considered marital property.
Assets that were purchased or maintained with commingled funds can be a bit more complicated. Usually they will be included in community property proceedings, but there is the chance that they are deemed separate property.
During property division, there are some assets that you may not even want to fight for, or aren't worth fighting for. This is another complicated aspect to the property division equation. You have to know the financial ramifications of acquiring certain assets during a divorce. Having an attorney by your side during the process is essential in this regard.
Source: FindLaw, "Divorce Property Division FAQ," Accessed June 23, 2017