Community Property

PRESUMPTION IN FAVOR OF THE COMMUNITY

Community property consists of all property, other than separate property acquired by either spouse during marriage. Property possessed by either spouse during the dissolution of the marriage is presumed to be community property, unless the spouse can prove that it is their separate property by clear and convincing evidence. Community property consists of almost anything of value, such as real property, personal property, stocks, bonds, savings accounts, automobiles, retirement benefits, 401(k) accounts, IRA accounts, stock options, copyright royalties, patents, income, rental income, life insurance and virtually anything else of value.Once the court determines that property is community property, then the court must divide the property. In dividing community property, the court is obligated to order a division of the estate of the parties in a manner the court deems “just and right”, having due regard for the rights of each party and any children of the marriage. In dividing the community estate of the parties, the court typically takes into account one or more of the following factors:
Fault in the breakup of the marriage
Health of the parties
Education of the parties
The present earnings of the parties
The earning capacity of the parties in the future
The party raising the minor children of the marriage
The specific nature of the property
Any separate property that a spouse may have
Any inheritance that a spouse is likely to receive
Tax issues in connection with property
Any fraud that one spouse has committed against the community or the other spouse
The debts of the parties
Eventually, at the end of the divorce proceeding each party is awarded some of the community assets which upon divorce become that party´s separate assets going forward.
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