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Community Property Versus Separate Property

Learn the difference between separate property and community property and the significance of the community property presumption.


Once a couple enters a valid marriage, creating a marital economic community, California’s community property laws come into effect. The California Family Code makes a fundamental distinction between community property and separate property, with most of the code’s provisions applying only to community property. Consequently, the starting point for any analysis of spousal property rights is determining whether the property at issue is community property or separate property.

I. Community...