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Community property

From Academic Kids

Community property is a marital property regime found in some common law jurisdictions and in the Civil Code of the Province of Quebec, Canada in which all property acquired during the marriage (except for gifts or inheritances) is owned jointly by both spouses and is divided upon divorce, annulment or death. Division of community property may take place by item, by splitting all items or by value. In some jurisdictions, a 50/50 division of community property is mandated by law; in others a divorce court may decree an unequal division of community property. In non-community property states property may be divided by equitable distribution. Generally speaking, the property that each partner brings into the marriage or receives by gift, bequest or devise during marriage is called separate property. See division of property.

In the United States there are nine community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin. In addition, Puerto Rico is a community property jurisdiction. Married couples in Alaska can also adopt community property rules, at least for the purposes of that state's law, by signing an agreement to that effect.

Community property has certain federal tax implications, which the IRS discusses in its Publication 555 (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p555.pdf).

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