Is My Bank Account Community Property?

Why is a bank account community property if the parties kept their money in separate accounts during marriage?

This situation frequently confuses and frustrates a party going through a divorce. They often find that their efforts to save money are thwarted by their spouse’s spending habits upon divorce.

California Family Code section 760 generally provides that “all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state is community property.”

This means that even though you kept separate bank accounts in your own names, the funds in your accounts may be community property. If you deposited your own paychecks into your own accounts, those funds may be community property. If you never commingled your accounts during marriage, those funds may still be community property.

As always, there are exceptions. For example, if you acquired property during the marriage by a gift or inheritance, that is your separate property. “The rents, issues, and profits” of separate property is also considered separate property, even if acquired during marriage. California Family Code section 770.

Spouses can also enter into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to specify what property becomes community property during their marriage.

There are many more circumstances that can result in separate property, and it is best to discuss your situation with an experienced family law attorney. Just keep in mind that simply because you kept your money separate does not mean that is it your separate money.

If you have questions as to whether your property is community property or separate property, contact our certified family law specialists to discuss your specific situation.

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