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Community Property Claims Attorneys

Community property principle assumes that even if one person in a marriage earns all of the money, both have contributed equally to the relationship, and therefore all property acquired during the marriage belongs equally to both of them.

Community property laws apply in Puerto Rico and the following nine states:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

The remaining 41 states follow the “equitable distribution” system for dividing property.

The idea is that while one party was working and earning a recordable value, the spouse who stayed at home performed the unpaid tasks of running the household, providing meals, and provided other non-financial support which, not having a recorded dollar amount, would constitute equal contribution to the marriage.

Property owned by either party before the marriage, which is kept in one party’s name is not included in community property, nor are inheritances or gifts made to one party.

Community property also means benefits earned during the marriage such as retirement benefits, pensions, and insurance. Degrees earned during a marriage are sometimes considered community property. Debts are considered community property, as well.

Prenuptial agreements can protect income and asset from community property rules in a divorce.

Community property is divided equally, but not always exactly in half. Factors considered in dividing community property include:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Age and health
  • Income and earning capacity
  • Needs of each spouse
  • Spousal support
  • Retirement benefits

Community property can get complicated
Property acquired during the marriage that is in only on spouse’s name is still considered community property. If one spouse purchases a home or a vehicle during the marriage and it is in his or her name alone, it is still considered property of both spouses under the community property law. However, if the home or vehicle was purchased before the marriage and remains only in that party’s name, it belongs solely to that spouse and is not community property. Money brought into the marriage by one party and deposited into an account that is in both parties’ names becomes community property.

If you are facing divorce in a community property state, contact a divorce lawyer with significant experience in community property law.

 
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