“He Wants What?!” – The Basics of California Community Property Law
Did you just find out that your husband or wife wants ownership of a special piece of personal property or real estate that you acquired before you were married? If so, you should be aware of some basic rules in California family law.
First, California is a community property state. This means that all property acquired by spouses during marriage while living in California is presumed to be community property. However, property that is acquired during marriage by gift, bequest, or devise, or income from property acquired prior to marriage is presumed to be separate property of the receiving spouse. In addition, all property acquired by each spouse prior to marriage is presumptively the property of the owner spouse. Thus, if your spouse is currently twisting your arm to give you possession of a valuable asset you acquired before marriage, your spouse may not have any legal claim to this property.
However, under certain circumstances, your spouse may have a claim in your separate property. For example, if you owned a home before marriage but community funds were used during the marriage to pay down the mortgage, the community may have an interest in the home. In addition, if you purchased real estate or personal property during marriage with your separate property but agreed with your spouse in writing that you were converting this property into community property; your spouse may also have an interest in the asset.
For more information on California community property law, please contact us. Please remember that each individual situation is unique and results discussed in this post are not a guarantee of future results. While this post may include legal issues, it is not legal advice. Use of this site does not create an attorney-client relationship.