Community property usually means everything that the spouses or domestic partners own together. This means everything that you bought or got while you were together in marriage or a domestic partnership — including debt — that is not a gift or inheritance.
Community property also includes all the earnings that either spouse or partner (or both of you) earned during the marriage and everything bought with those earnings. To determine whether an item is considered community property or not, you simply need to look at the source of income which was used to purchase it. If the item was purchased using money that was earned during the marriage or domestic partnership, the property belongs to the community. That is because the savings you have from your paycheck is community property, since you earned that money during the marriage/partnership.
Community property also includes all financial obligations (debts) accumulated during your marriage or domestic partnership. This is true even if the debt was incurred by only 1 of you, or even if a credit card was in the name of 1 spouse or partner only.
In Orange County, California, each spouse or partner owns one-half of the community property and each person in the marriage or partnership is responsible for one-half of the debt. Community property and community debts are usually divided equally among the two parties.
If your spouse or partner has a pension plan you have the right to part of the money in that plan if any of it was earned during your marriage or domestic partnership therefore you may have more community property than you may be aware of. You may also have more community debts than you realize. Your spouse or partner may have gotten into debt in his or her own name but you will be responsible for part of it as well if the debt was incurred during your marriage or domestic partnership.
For more information, consult with an experienced Orange County Family Law Attorney; therefore, call Yanez & Associates for a free consultation 714-971-8000.