California is a community property state. While most are aware of this fact, few actually know what "community property" means. If you are engaged, married, or in a domestic partnership domiciled in California, you want to know what community property means and how living in a community property state affects you.
California law defines community property as any asset acquired or income earned by a married person while living with a spouse. Separate property is defined as anything acquired by a spouse before marriage, during the marriage by gift, devise, or descent, and after the parties separate. When there is no written agreement requiring a particular division of property, the law requires that the community estate be divided equally
Quasi-community property is any type of property that was acquired by either one or both spouses or domestic partners when living in another state that qualifies as community property in California. Quasi-community property can be any earnings, real estate, or any other type of property. In a divorce or legal separation, quasi-community property will also be considered community property.
Sometimes, assets are part community property and part separate property. This is defined as "commingling", as one spouse's separate property is mixed or combined with the couple's marital property. It can quickly become very complicated to figure out how to divide these types of assets.
A common example is selling a house owned by one spouse before marriage or domestic partnership and using the proceeds to put a down payment on a house purchased after marrying or registering a domestic partnership. The money earned from the sale of the house is separate property, so the down payment for the house is considered separate property. However, if mortgage payments are made while domiciled, the equity resulting from paying the home loan is community property. The equity of the house becomes commingled.
For comprehensive representation in division of community property, call Azemika & Azemika Law. We will fight for and protect you and your family during the separation and divorce process. Contact us today online or by phone 661-322-8166 to arrange an initial consultation with our attorneys.
Any property that qualifies as community property will be divided between both parties. However, any property that a spouse acquired before marriage or domestic partnership is considered separate property, and legally belongs to that spouse. Sometimes, these two can become intertwined, or commingled. With acute attention to detail, our divorce attorneys can help you sort out and protect your financial assets.
Quasi-community property is any property that is acquired in another state or country. For California community property purposes during a divorce, quasi-community property is considered community property and can be legally divided between the two parties.
If any inheritance or gifts are acquired during marriage and one spouse wants to prove it is not community property, the spouse has a legal burden to prove: (1) the property was acquired from a third person by gift, bequest or inheritance for the exclusive benefit of one spouse; (2) the source of the property was separate property; (3) the couple transmuted (legally transformed) the property from community to separate property. Our experienced divorce attorneys can help you sort out what qualifies as separate and community property.
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