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What is quasi-community property in a California divorce?

Couples in California who have been married a long time may have accumulated a good deal of property. They may have bought a home, automobiles, furniture and other valuable possessions. They may also have savings accounts, retirement accounts, pensions, stocks and life insurance policies. Therefore, should the couple eventually divorce, there are a lot of property division issues that must be considered.

As discussed on this blog in the past, when it comes to divorce, property is generally classified as either community property or separate property. Community property, is that which was gained while the couple was married, including earnings. It is considered to be owned by both spouses.

Separate property, on the other hand, is that which a spouse owned prior to becoming married. Inheritances and gifts made to one spouse only are also usually considered to be separate property, even if they were gained while the spouses were married.

However, what about property obtained outside the state of California? Is it community property or separate property? Property that is obtained by either spouse (or both) when the spouses were living in a state that is not California that, had it been obtained in the state, would be community property is called quasi-community property. For the purposes of property division, it is treated as community property.

For example, say a married couple living in Minnesota purchased some furniture. Then, later on, they moved to California. After living in California a number of years, their marriage disintegrated and they decided to divorce. Since they purchased the furniture while married, if they had been living in California at the time, it would be classified as community property. Therefore, for the purposes of property division, that furniture would be considered quasi-community property and will be divided in the same way that community property is.

To recap, in California for the purposes of property division in a divorce, there is community property and quasi-community property, which is owned by both spouses, and separate property, which is owned by only one spouse. Those in California who are seeking a divorce and have more questions about quasi-community property may want to seek the help of a family law attorney.

Source:, "Property and Debt in a Divorce or Legal Separation," accessed Dec. 12, 2016

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