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  • Writer's pictureVictoria D'Cotledge

What constitutes community property?

In family law, the "community" period is the time between the date of marriage and date of separation (which briefly refers to the period of time when the couple decide the marriage is over.)

Items in the community can include incomes, retirement accounts, investment accounts, real estate holdings, credit card debt, loans, types of life insurance policies, and more. These items are generally referred to as assets and debts. Since California is a 50/50 state, each spouse is liable and/or entitled to a 50 percent share of the “community." This applies even if one spouse was the wage earner and the other spouse was a stay-at-home spouse or parent. Generally, all items within the "community" are 50/50.

However, exceptions to this rule - though few - have occurred. For instance, one spouse purposely - and it can be proven through tangible evidence - wracked up significant debt (credit cards, loans, etc.) in an effort to damage one or both spouses' credit, may find him/herself solely responsible for that debt as opposed to it being declared a part of the community.

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