Community Property States Divorce

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Property distribution is one of the important issues in a divorce procedure. It is a disputable matter between partners. The division would be initiated and carried out by the spouses, by making a mutual agreement. This ensures that each of them is getting a satisfactory share. But, often the partners find it difficult to handle the issue on their own. Thus, the issue is raised in the court to have a fair result. The property laws in every state differ according to the preferences of the state laws regarding divorce. In community property states there is an equal division between the spouses, regardless the owner of such assets and liabilities.

In the United States, the following states are regarded as community property states.

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

Apart from the above, Puerto Rico is considered to have this type of jurisdiction.

Concepts in Community Property States Divorce

It is necessary to understand the difference between community and equitable division. Equitable property states may not necessarily divide the assets in an equal manner. But, above mentioned states divide the debts and assets by cutting exactly in the middle of the value. Here are some concepts that would explain this principle in a detailed manner:

  • All the assets that has been attained during the marital life, with the exclusion of inheritance and gifts, is considered in this division.
  • Let us assume that during the course of the marriage one partner has earned all the money to purchase the belongings. Still it would be termed as joint assets.
  • Each of the states listed above might have slight differences in the laws that deal with such assets.
  • However, all the above mentioned states have special laws that have been based on the following theory:
    • Both the partners have contributed equally in the marriage
    • So, the combined effort of both the partners has resulted in the accumulation.
    • As a consequence of this ideology, when a divorce takes place both the husband and the wife each get 50 percent share of earnings acquired together.
  • If any spouse has any assets prior to the marriage or has received anything in the form of a gift or an inheritance, then all of these are regarded as 'separate assets' or non marital earnings. This is not divided in course of a divorce, but allotted to the single owner.
  • A 50 percent share does not imply that the court divides each and every asset in half. The intent of the court is that every partner should get 50 percent of the total net value. The total net value is (fair market value of assets) minus (joint debts).

Exceptions in the Community Property

  • If separate earnings are blended with joint assets, such earnings are frequently calculated in equal division.
  • If one of the spouses has increased equity in individual savings, then in certain circumstances, this is categorized as joint earnings.
  • If one of the spouses is disabled and unfit to continue a job, then this is an unusual situation. One should contact the local court to determine how it would deal this case

Community Debts

The ideology applicable for assets is also applied for debts in community property states. Community Debt is the sum of debts contracted from the date of marriage till the date of separation. Both the husband and the wife have an equal liability to repay this.

In a majority of cases, community debt is inclusive of car loan balances, home mortgages and credit cards. It is advisable that as soon as a divorce is declared, both spouses should close all joint accounts, bank accounts and credit cards. If they avoid this step, and instead remove names from these accounts, then it is not adequate to safeguard you from financial crisis. It may happen that the assets are hidden to prevent them from sharing with the partner. Thus, the disclosure of the assets and debts should be obligatorily asked by the partners.

This is the general overview of divorce in such states. The spouses applying for divorce in these states must be acquainted with this kind of division. It is advisable that they solve the issue between themselves, as it would help them to manage the assets and debts in a satisfactory manner. The ownership and requirements of the partners are not considered in these states.

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