What’s the difference between community property and separate property in California?

By Ann A. Thomson
November 23, 2016

Community property is property that’s subject to division by the family law court. Generally, and I’m just going to talk in general terms, it’s property that’s acquired between date of marriage and date of separation through one of the married spouse’s time, effort, and skill during marriage.

Separate property is property that’s acquired before marriage or after separation. You can also acquire separate property during marriage through gift or inheritance – meaning if you inherit from your great-aunt and/or you inherit a family property and it’s kept in your separate name, it’s your separate property.

Everything in family law is arguable, and you either come to an agreement or the judge makes a decision. Community property is something that’s central to any family law case because you are going to divide community property and keep separate property separate.


Ann A. Thomson is a family lawyer practicing in Seal Beach, California. She serves clients throughout the Orange County and southern California area. To learn more about Ann and her firm, visit www.annthomsonlaw.com.

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November 23, 2016
Categories:  FAQs

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