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Community Property


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Facts - Books - News    U.S. Facts Of Law:

Community Property

Community property includes all the assets and property, regardless of which party has ownership, acquired during a marriage.  However, some gifts and inheritances are exempt from being included as community property.  These are the assets that will be divided upon upon divorce, annulment or death on one of the parties.  Some jurisdictions have adopted community property law on the presumption that both parties contribute equally to the marriage and family and should have equal ownership rights in the assets acquired by either spouse.

In some states the court may provide that one party receive more of the assets than the other and some states the law requires a 50-50 split.  In some instances where there is a single asset, such as a house, both parties may share equity in the value of the asset until it is sold at a later date agreeable to both.  In states without community property laws the assets are generally distributed in an equitable manner by the court.

Nine states currently have community property laws.  They include Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, Wisconsin and also Puerto Rico.  Married couples in Alaska may sign an agreement consenting to community property rules if they so desire.

"Community Property with Rights of Survivorship" is a new form of community property ownership that has been legislated in a few states.  It is similar to the more standard "Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship".  The community property designation may result in lower capital gains taxes when a surviving spouse sells the assets.  The federal tax implications are discussed in IRS Publication 555.


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Facts of Law covering the aspects of community property in divorce

Facts of Law - Community Property