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Community Property

Community property refers to the division of marital property according to a fifty-fifty split . States that apply the principles of community property require the equal division of marital assets and debt (that is, marital property) since each spouse is theoretically considered an equal partner in the marriage. This is not to say, however, that married couples cannot own separate property. Nor does it mean that married couples cannot themselves decide, by way of a written agreement, what constitutes community property and what does not.

Some examples of community property may include:

  • Money either spouse earns during the marriage
  • Property bought with money either spouse earned
  • Separate property that has become so intertwined with community property that it can't be identified or separated out
  • A family home which the couple owns as “husband and wife,” regardless of whose earnings paid for it
  • A joint checking account, even if one spouse contributes more than another

Examples of separate property may include:

  • Property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage
  • Gift(s) given to only one spouse
  • Inheritance bestowed upon just one spouse

If you are thinking about divorce and need information on about community property laws and the division of property, or if you need help drawing up a written prenuptial agreement, it is best to consult with an experienced divorce attorney who can help you understand the law and protect your best interests .

Contact us for a FREE consultation with a qualified divorce attorney in your area.

* The states that apply the principles of community property include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. In Alaska, married couples can agree to adopt community property rules. Puerto Rico also falls under community property jurisdiction.

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