Community property is a classification of property under which most property acquired during the marriage, is owned jointly by both spouses and is divided upon divorce, annulment, or death. Joint ownership is automatically presumed by law in the absence of specific evidence that would point to a contrary conclusion for a particular piece of property. Division of community property may take place by splitting all items or by values. Generally speaking, the property that each partner brings into the marriage or receives by gift, bequest or devise during marriage is called separate property (not community property). Property owned by one spouse before the marriage is sometimes referred to as the “separate property” of that spouse, but there are instances in which the community can gain an interest in separate property and even situations in which separate property can be “transmuted” into community property.
Identifying property in an appropriate manner is key to ensuring the protection of your rights. While most community property issues are resolved without much dispute there are often complexities that impact on the identification of community property. For example, what about a house purchased before marriage but that contains both partners’ names on it? What about a retirement account acquired during marriage but most money was added to it during marriage? These concerns, plus others, are what the experts of Justice Legal Group do to assist parties going through a divorce.