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What is Community Property?


California is a community property state, which means that all money earned by either spouse during a marriage along with all property bought is classified as community property. Community property is equally owned by both the husband and the wife and will need to be separated equally in the event of a divorce. The same idea goes for any debts incurred during the marriage, they are tied to both parties. The property determined to by communal includes:

  • All earnings during the marriage
  • All property acquired with those earnings
  • All debts acquired during the marriage including:
  • Credit card debt
  • Mortgages
  • Auto loans
  • Retirement benefits and interests in pensions

When going through a divorce, all of the above property will be separated equally between both parties. This is done by taking the total fair market value of the community property and split it. This means that that the parties will not need to divide each object, but the value of all the assets together needs to be divided equally. For example, one party may receive the family residence and the other will receive the family business or something that is equivalent in value to the residence.

There are some situations where determining community property is more complicated. For example, a business owned prior to the marriage can be partially separate property, but it the business increased revenue during the marriage, that increase is community property. Another complicated scenario would be if one spouse purchases a vacation home with a combination of separate funds and marital funds. For help in the property division process, it is advised to team up with a divorce lawyer in Ventura. Negley Law, APC is familiar with the determination of community property and we can help make sure that your rights are protected. Contact us today to schedule your free initial consultation.

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