According to California Family Code Section 760, community property is all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in California. An exception to the definition of community property is property acquired by gift or inheritance.
Income earned from a spouse’s labor, skill or management during marriage and before separation is community property, and thus, is owned equally by both spouses. The income can include compensation for services without regard to the form in which it is received.
Similarly, all debts incurred during the marriage are the liability of each spouse, regardless of who incurred the debt.
If the spouses separate or divorce, the property is divided equally between them unless they sign an agreement stating otherwise. Upon separation or divorce, the community property is calculated by subtracting the spouses’ joint obligations from the fair market value of their assets. The difference represents the couple’s community property, which amount is used to determine the property settlement.
California Family Code Section 125(a) states that quasi-community property is real or personal property, wherever situated, acquired by a spouse while domiciled outside California and which would have been community property had the spouse been domiciled in California at the time he or she acquired the property.
Section 125 (b) states that such property can also be acquired in exchange for real or personal property, wherever situated, which would have been community property if the spouse who acquired the property had been domiciled in California at the time of acquisition.
According to California Family Code Section 770, separate property is any property that has been acquired by either spouse before marriage, following separation, or during marriage by gift or inheritance. The rents, issues, and profits of the property described in Section 770 are separate property.
Separation occurs when the parties have exhibited behavior that suggests that they have no intent to continue the marriage, and that they have agreed to end the relationship.
In order for the property to remain separate, the spouse must make sure that the property is kept separate and apart from marital or community property. One way of keeping the property separate is for the spouse to keep the property in his or her name only. If the separate property is commingled with community property, it becomes community property.