Community property in California

The two basic categories of property and assets are “community marital assets” and “separate property assets.”
In a community property state such as California , all property and assets including your house is usually divided into two basic categories of either “community marital assets.” or “separate property”

“Community” or “marital assets” as determined by the courts

Usually in a community property state the court determines which property is “community assets.” Most assets acquired during marriage are considered community property. Simply stated, if you purchase a house with marital funds as joint tenants it is most likely considered community property. Under community property law each spouse is thought to have an equal share in equity. Even with the most obvious and simple case of a house being considered community property, possessing an equal equity share does not necessarily mean that you will get half of the house or its value awarded in a divorce situation. In the eyes of the courts , marital property is to be “fairly divided” but fair does not always mean equal. Fortunately you came to this blog and can learn how to best work with your spouse and the court.

“Separate” or “non marital “assets excluded from the community property

“Separate property assets ” also referred to as “non marital assets”, usually consists of premarital assets or property owned prior to marriage. These are usually excluded from the community property settlement. In the simplest way of thinking, if you purchased the home and paid it off in full before you were married it is non marital property. Money, stocks, retirement accounts held prior to marriage are examples of separate property and would not be divided under the rules of community property if you were living in Los Angeles. California at the time your filed for divorce.

Assets acquired during marriage that are Exclusions from community property

Of course, there are a few exceptions for certain assets acquired during marriage or exclusions from community property,. Among such exclusions from community property are inheritance, personal injury awards prior to marriages and excluded investments. These assets are treated much the same way as if they had been acquired prior to marriage. They are viewed as the sole and separate property of the spouse who acquired them and will not be considered as part of the divorce settlement package.

House purchased prior to marriage or with premarital or inherited funds but spouse helped pay mortgage and or make improvements

Sometimes when the house was not clearly purchased with marital funds it becomes a decision for the courts to determine
whether a real estate asset is considered marital community or non- community property . It must then also be determined what portion you are each entitled to claim in a divorce. An example of this type of unclear situation occurs when the property was purchased either prior to marriage or with money which preexisted prior to the marriage or was inherited but the spouse contributed mortgage payments and improvements.
If the court determines that the spouse added onto title had contributed “significantly” to the equity in the home then they may grant that spouse some percentage although not necessarily a 50% share of equity share in the house. Other wise the courts typically have that spouse be “reimbursed “ the money paid out towards the house.


Article: Community property, community real estate and marital assets in California
Author: Lauren Nemeschansky : Following me on Google plus
Source: Santa Clarita Real Estate Agent

Community property, community real estate and marital assets in California

I am a local real estate agent here in Santa Clarita, a suburb of Los Angeles. I love to write about real estate buying and selling and address some difficult issues such as divorce and real estate, short sales, probate and relocation. I use the power of the internet and my blog to educate because in real estate “knowledge is power.” I will also enjoy some guest bloggers who are experts in their fields such as mortgage lenders, attorneys, and credit repair experts. Don’t forget to follow me on google+ and connect with social media sites!