What is the difference between community property and separate property? And how does it affect me? Community property is that property that is owned mutually by you and your spouse within your marriage. Separate property is that property that is owned solely by you.
Community property begins with your marriage and encompasses almost all things that you obtain during the marriage. Typical community property includes:
- Money earned during the marriage;
- Items purchased with community money; and
- Commingled assets
An example of this would be your pay from work during the marriage, although you are the one to earn the funds, it is money you earned during the marriage making it community. The marital community ends on the date of separation, which is normally the day one party serves the other with the divorce papers from the court.
Separate property is what you have acquired before the marriage started and after it was dissolved. Listed below are some exceptions to the community property rule and count as separate property:
- Gifts; and
- Acquisition using only separate property.
If you are going through a divorce or you are considering it, it is best to consult with an attorney who can help you distinguish what type of property your assets are. It is important to note that parties can always negotiate the exact distribution of property during a divorce.