What Is Community Property In A San Jose Divorce?
If you are getting divorced in California, you may already know that California is one of only nine community property states in the country. States that are not community property states are known as equitable distribution states, and in those states, property from the marriage is divided in an equitable manner between the spouses, or in a way that is fair to both parties based on various factors from their marriage. Community property states work a bit differently. In California and other community property states, community property must be divided equally between the parties in terms of the value of the property.
Our San Jose divorce attorneys can tell you more about community property and the way California defines quasi-community property in a divorce.
Defining Community Property Under California Law
In a divorce, property owned by the spouses—including assets and debts—must be classified as community property or separate property. Community property also includes quasi-community property. In general, each spouse in California has a legal right to half of the community property, which means that community property gets divided equally between the parties in a divorce.
How do courts decide what counts as community property (which must be divided) and what counts as separate property (which is not divided)? Generally speaking, community property includes all assets and debts acquired during the marriage that were not acquired through an inheritance or a third-party gift. Any money earned during the marriage is community property, and anything purchased with those earnings is community property. This is true even if you and your spouse maintain separate bank accounts throughout your marriage or domestic partnership, and even if you do not permit one another to have access to your accounts.
Similarly, all debts acquired during the marriage will also be classified as community property even if only one of the spouses was actually responsible for acquiring the debt. Debts brought to the marriage, however, do not count as community property. For example, if a spouse has significant student loan debt prior to the marriage, or credit card debt, that debt will likely be classified as separate property.
Is Quasi-Community Property Different from Community Property?
You might hear about property known as “quasi-community property.” What is this type of property? According to the California Courts, quasi-community property is a term used to describe “any type of property that was acquired by either one or both spouses or domestic partners when living in another state that, had it been acquired while living in California, it would have been considered community property.” For example, if you lived in an equitable distribution state with your spouse previously—where the concept of community property does not exist—but you made purchases with your earnings during your marriage in that state, those assets will be treated as community property in a California divorce.
Contact Our San Jose Divorce Lawyers
If you are planning to file for divorce in California, or if you were recently served with divorce papers, our San Jose divorce attorneys can assist you with your case. We can provide you with more information about community property and other aspects of your divorce case. Contact Foster Hsu, LLP today for more information.