Many Californians know that divorce can have a big financial impact on people’s lives. For this reason, some people consider or enter into prenuptial agreements before marriage that identify and establish specific assets as separate property belonging to just one or the other person. Separate property is excluded from property division but marital properties – that is, jointly owned properties – are subject to distribution. California law also addresses another category of asset known as quasi-community property.
What is quasi-community property? This is any type of property that is obtained by either spouse during the marriage while the couple was living in another state; it is considered quasi-community property and is considered akin to marital property because it would have been considered as such if it had been acquired in California. This asset can be real estate, income earnings from employment, investments and most other types of property that are not specifically designated as separate properties.
What is a good example? Take a situation where a spouse or partner in a domestic partnership registered in California were previously living in Florida during their marriage or partnership. If one spouse or partner acquired and registered a recreational vehicle in that state, it would be treated as quasi-community property if the couple moved with it to California and then filed for divorce or legal separation. The property would only be exempt from division of marital assets if a marital agreement, such as a prenuptial or even postnuptial, listed it as separate property in the event of separation or divorce.
Divorce can produce considerable financial strains for both spouses. That is why state residents considering divorce should become familiar with how property is categorized in the event of divorce, remembering that California is a community property state in which assets are divided equally between spouses.
Source: Courts.Ca.gov, “Property and Debt in a Divorce or Legal Separation“, Accessed in Jan. 15, 2015