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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Hello, I'm Karla Mitchell. Going through a legal case can be very expensive and challenging. I won't go into details, but I recently underwent my own legal battle that lasted several years. It is finally over and I successfully received a settlement, but I had to spend so much time studying law in order to play my role in my own court case. While I found a great attorney at one point, I felt completely lost initially and I don't want anyone else to experience the same thing. So I decided to create this blog for those who would like to know more about law.


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Don't Be In The Dark About Our Legal System

Are You Divorcing In A Community Property State? What To Know

by Andrew Martin

Laws governing divorce and lots of other things can vary a lot depending on your state of residence. States look at divorce using either equitable distribution rules or community property rules. Find out more below. 

Vast Differences in Divorce Experiences

The differences in community property and equitable distribution can affect everything from property and debt divisions to spousal support and more. Some states follow community property rules and some adhere to community property rules. Divorcing couples that live in a community property state are viewed as a group, or community, rather than an individual. That way of looking at things places both divorcing parties on equal footing.

Community Property and Marital Property

In community property states, marital property is divided equally between both spouses during a divorce. Marital property is defined as any property that was acquired by either spouse during the marriage, with some exceptions for gifts and inheritances. This property is considered to belong equally to both spouses and is divided equally between them during a divorce. Separate property, which is property acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage or by gift or inheritance during the marriage, is not subject to division.

In comparison, marital property in an equitable distribution state may or may not be divided equally and can depend on several factors when dividing it. Community property guidelines can favor the party in the divorce that did not own as much property as the other party. A home, for example, or a valuable vehicle, is considered half the property of both parties, no matter who made the payments or was named on the deed. 

Community Property and Marital Debt

The other side of the coin is that both parties are equally responsible for the debts of the marriage – even if one party had nothing to do with the debt. That can cause some parties to take on half of their spouse's private debts. Speak with a lawyer once you separate so that you can place a legal barrier between marital debts and separation debts. 

It is important to work with a qualified family law attorney to ensure that your rights and interests are protected during the divorce process, as there can be complexities and exceptions to the community property rules. 

Reach out to a local divorce lawyer to learn more. They will help you find the best asset division plan for you and your soon-to-be former spouse.