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How to Tell the Difference between Community and Separate Property

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When you're going through a divorce, chances are excellent that you're going to want to make sure that you retain as many of your personal possessions as possible. You will not want to give anything up to your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. As a result, you will need to know the difference between community property and separate property. Review these types of property in order to make sure that you don't give up anything you don't have to.

Community Property

The first thing that you're going to need to know is what community property is. Community property is the property that both you and your spouse own together. This property cannot go to one spouse or the other unless a decision is made between both of them. One example of community property is any money that was made by either of the spouses during the course of the marriage. This includes money that was made from one's career, money that was made by selling personal possessions on the Internet, and any money that was made freelancing. Any income is considered community property.

A second example is anything that was purchased with the money that was mentioned above during the course of the marriage. Because this type of property was purchased with community funds, then it is considered community property. However, if a spouse is to purchase something with money that he or she inherited, then that item is his or hers alone.

The final type of community property are items that have essentially been mixed together over the years of the marriage and are almost impossible to separate out. These items could include craft supplies that both of the parties used and contributed to, as well as individual items in a DVD collection.

Separate Property

Separate property is the type of property that one spouse could take on his or her own without the other spouse being able to do anything to stop it. Separate property includes any gifts or inheritance that are given to only one spouse. This means if your uncle gave you a rare comic book collection in your name only, then you don't have to split that collection with your spouse. Another example is anything owned by one spouse before the marriage started. These items were not purchased with community funds and are therefore separate property.

For more information on the distinction between community and separate property, talk to a lawyer like Ward & Ketchersid PA.