Community Property

guideway legal: community property is that which is acquired during the marriage, to be split 50/50.

Community Property

California Is a Community Property State

It means that the property you and your spouse acquire during your marriage is owned equally, 50-50. Community property includes wages earned by either spouse during the marriage. It’s the home and furniture purchased during the marriage with the money earned during this period. Interest income earned by investments are included as well. All of this community property is divided equally in a Divorce.

Community property is not determined by the name on the property. Homes, vehicles, 401(k) accounts, or other financial accounts are all community property even if they have your spouse’s name on them and they were acquired during your marriage.

Separate Property is That Which is Acquired Separately During Marriage by Gift or Inheritance

It’s property that’s brought into the marriage. The student loans that you bring into your marriage? Those are all yours, unless, of course, your spouse wants to help pay those off. On the other hand, if your spouse inherits a Tahoe cottage from a favorite relative with his name on the mortgage, it belongs to him. Gifts and inheritances are considered separate property.

The Bottom Line

Community property law sets the standard that the income and assets of a married couple are jointly owned. While one party inevitably earns more or contributes more net income to the household, assets are owned equally. Nine states have adopted community property laws, and the community property estate is often dissolved only in the course of death, divorce, departure from a community property state or legal separation.

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