What is quasi-community property and how does it impact divorce?

Sharman L. Brooks

When couples in California divorce, part of the process will be dividing the property and debt acquired during the marriage. Part of the property might have been acquired during the marriage but while the couple lived outside of California. This property is considered quasi-community property and is handled in the same way as community property acquired in California.

Community or marital property

Community or marital property includes any physical property acquired during the marriage, such as homes, vehicles or furniture. But it goes beyond that. It also includes:

  • The salary earned by each spouse
  • Retirement and pension accounts
  • Insurance accounts that can be valued in cash
  • Bank accounts including savings and investment accounts
  • Registered patents
  • Businesses

There are exceptions to what is considered marital property. For example, any property acquired during the marriage from money inherited by one person generally belongs to the person who bought it, as do gifts and inheritances.

What if you lived outside of the state during marriage and acquired property?

This type of property is labeled quasi-community property and includes both any money made by the spouses from working as well as any property they acquired outside of the state. In those cases, the courts assume that the couple would have earned money and could have acquired that property as well if they had been living within the state.

What happens to marital property, including quasi-community property during a divorce?

Once the couple decides to end the marriage, their marital property, including any quasi-community property, will be divided equally between the spouses. This can, however, be affected by any prenup or postnup agreements the couple might have drafted and by any commingled property, where part of the property is individually owned but marital funds have been used to increase its value.

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