What is Community Property?

By Schonauer Law on Aug 05, 2015 at 03:06 PM in What Does it Mean

California is a community property state. This means that a marriage or the registration of a domestic partnership makes two people into ONE legal Community.


Property comes in two forms.  Real property is part of the land or attached to a structure on the land and is immovable, or can’t be removed without damage, or anything which is incidental to the land is real property. Personal property is everything that is not real property.

When there is a marriage, property is further characterized into Community and Separate property.

            Community Property

Generally, all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a spouse during the marriage while living in California is community property.  This general rule also applies to debt acquired during the marriage.  This is a general rule.  Often, property “acquired” during the marriage is one spouses separate property in whole or in part.  For example, property acquired during the marriage by way of gift or inheritance is not considered community property, nor is any property purchased by property gifted or inherited.

Community property includes, but is not limited to,

  1. Any income/wages that both spouse or partner earned during the marriage and everything purchased with those earnings.
  2. Pension plans and other benefits (stock options, securities)
  3. Personal Injury awards meant to compensate either spouse from harm incurred during marriage.

             Quasi-Community Property

Quasi-community property is property acquired by either spouses or domestic partners when living in another state that, had it been acquired while living in California, it would be community property.  In any dissolution or legal separation in California, Quasi-community property will be treated as community property.

            Separate Property

Separate property is all property owned by a person before marriage; all property acquired by the person after marriage by gift, bequest, devise, or descent; and any property acquired or resulting from separate property.

I am licensed in California only. The above information is based upon California Law. The above information is not based upon your particular facts, and as such is not legal advice. For a more complete information, based upon your particular situation, I advise that you consult with an attorney.