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The Community Property System

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Bloomberg Law

THE COMMUNITY PROPERTY SYSTEM Eight states (Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington) have a system of community property. The system’s basic assumption is that the husband and wife contribute equally to the economic achievements of the marriage.
Effect All property acquired during the marriage by either spouse is community property owned jointly by husband and wife. This has its greatest effect when a marriage is dissolved or when property is sold.
Strong Presumption That Property Acquired or Possessed During Marriage Is Community Property. Community Property Includes:
Income from Community Property (even if the property is only listed in one spouse’s name).
Earnings by both spouses during the marriage.

2. The presumption can be rebutted by a preponderance of the evidence proving that the property is separately owned.
Separate Property includes:

Property obtained by either spouse before marriage.
Property obtained by either spouse by gift, devise, or descent.
Five out of eight community property states also include income from all separate property in this category.

D. Separate Property Can Be Transformed Into Community Property by the Act of the Spouse Who Owns the Property. Neither spouse can change community property into separate property without the consent of the other. Management
Prior to 1960 The husband had exclusive control over community property as a fiduciary. However, he could not convey real property without his wife’s consent in most cases.

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