On October 18th, Tobey Maguire and wife Jennifer Meyer announced their separation after nine years of marriage. Shortly after their breakup, they placed their Santa Monica property on the market for $2.995 million. They purchased this house together a little over a year ago. Due to the impending separation, who is legally entitled to the proceeds of this sale? The fact they were married during the joint purchase of this Santa Monica home marks this real estate commodity as community property.
The term community property refers to any asset or income acquired during the tenure of a marriage, whereas separate property is defined as assets or income acquired before a marriage, as a gift from a benefactor, or after separation. Property can refer to anything that can be purchased or sold, like houses, vehicles, furniture, and clothing; or can refer to bank accounts, pension plans, security deposits, businesses, and the like.
While Tobey Maguire and Jennifer Meyer's Santa Monica home is considered community property, what if one individual received a family heirloom as a gift? Simply, this gift, which was bequeathed to one individual and not both as a couple, may be considered separate property. If one made the down payment for their house from their own individual account before they married, the down payment for that home may be considered separate property.
California is a community property state meaning that property and assets are equally divided 50/50 between both parties if it was acquired during the marriage.
If Maguire and Meyer owned properties in a different state, would they have to file in that state in order to properly divide those assets? While each case is unique and there are exceptions for this rule, for the purposes of addressing quasi-community property, we will suppose the simple answer is no. Community property remains community property regardless of the jurisdiction. Quasi-community property refers to the property and assets of a married couple acquired together in a non-community property state. Currently, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin join California as community property states.
An example of quasi-community property may be husband and wife married in California. They purchase their permanent residential home in California. They then move to Colorado and purchase a vacation home there. After seven years of marriage, they have decided to file for divorce in California. Their California home is considered community property, while their vacation home is quasi-community property, because it is a home purchased during their marriage in a non-community state. The assets will be split according to California law. However, as California jurisdiction does not extend to Colorado, this quasi-community property must be handled with special attention. It is highly recommended that you work with an experienced community property divorce lawyer who can take care of this important matter for you.
Divorce can be a highly stressful time for you and your family. When it comes to handling the necessary details concerning community property, separate property, and quasi-community property, your concerns are our priority. With the family law experts at Azemika & Azemika Law, we focus on family so you can focus on your future.