Understanding California Community Property Law
The courts look at marriages like partnerships in the State of California, so when it comes to divorce, spouses are co-owners.
If you live in California and are contemplating or about to actually file for a divorce, you need to be aware that California is a community property state,
one of only nine like it in the United States. Community property means that spouses are regarded as co-owners of property, like being in a
There are three categories that married spouses may fit into when facing a divorce in California, the first being community property; the second being
separate property; and the third being quasi-community property. Why the different categories when a couple is getting divorced?
The category the property happens to fall into controls how it is divided when the divorce is final. For instance, California's community property law
says community property is considered to be "all" property, no matter where it is located, that was acquired by the married couple while they lived in
California. If the property is located within California, the California law classifies such property as community property. If the property is located
outside the State of California, it is called quasi-community property.
Generally speaking, the couple both own property that they bought between the time they were married and the day they separated. Each of them
owns a one-half interest in that property. This is what is referred to as community property, with both people owning it at the same time.
On the other hand, separate property is property that either spouse owned "before" the marriage or after separation. Or, it might also be assets that
were received during the marriage as a gift or an inheritance. An example of this might be if a relative gifted an ancestral home to the wife. That home
is then hers and is considered to be separate property at divorce time.
On another note relating to separate property: if any money is earned from that property, it