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What is Quasi-Community Property?

Quasi-Community PropertyQuasi-community property, what is it and what effect does this classification have on the distribution of the marital estate during divorce proceedings?

Marital property, no matter what jurisdiction you live in, is any property that was acquired during the marriage. There are exceptions to this rule, however, but for purposes of determining what “quasi-community property” is, we will start with the premise that the property was acquired during the marriage and is not subject to any exception.

Community Property Law States vs. Equitable Distribution Jurisdictions

There are only nine community property law states in this country, California is one of these. All of the other states use a form of “equitable” distribution instead of the 50/50 community property split used in California, with the exception of Alaska. In Alaska, couples are allowed a choice between equitable distribution and community property law. So what happens when couples living in a community property law state acquire property in a state that uses the equitable form of distribution?

Division of marital property, also known as community property in California is mandated by statute to require a 50/50 split. The exception to the classification that all property acquired during the marriage is community property is that any asset received by either party as a gift during the marriage is that party’s separate property. Division of marital property in non-community property states will be divided by equitable distribution. Equitable distribution is the means in which those states that do not follow community property law determine what would be a “fair” distribution of the marital estate.

The question then becomes one of, how is property acquired during marriage in a non-community property law state distributed when the couple is divorcing in a community property law state. The answer is that the community property law state (California), will treat the out of state property as if it was community property; if the property would have been classified as community property in a community property law state, at the time it was acquired.

The following is an example of quasi-community property:

Wife and husband married in California five years ago. During their marriage, they purchased their permanent residential home in California, for $750,000. They also purchased a vacation home in Florida for $250,000. The couple had planned to eventually retire to Florida. Four years into the marriage, husband and wife decided that the marriage was not working out and they filed for divorce in California. The couple’s California residence is community property, and the Florida vacation home will be considered, under California law, to be “quasi community property.” Distribution of the community assets will be according to California Family Law; however, there will need to be a special handling of the Florida vacation home because California jurisdiction does not extend to real estate located outside of California.

In this instance, you may need the advice and the assistance of an expert family law attorney regarding issues of quasi-community property assets.

Distribution of Quasi-Community Assets in a Community Property State

Distribution of property during a divorce proceeding depends upon its classification. Marital property in California (property acquired during the marriage) is classified as community property; however property acquired in a non-community property law jurisdiction will also be considered quasi-community property, in California. During a divorce proceeding, your rights to an interest in such properties after the divorce will depend on that classification. If you are contemplating a divorce, please contact the family law attorneys at Santa Rosa law office of Beck Law P.C., for a free consultation at (707) 576-7175 or visit us online.

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