Appendix F. Asset Protection and Marital Planning

AuthorJeffrey Robert Matsen
ProfessionFounder and managing partner of Matsen Voorhees Mintz LLP
Asset Protection
and Marital Planning
Community Property and the Division of Community
Property between Spouses
California is a community property state, and under California law:
1. The Community property is generally property acquired during the marriage and any separate
property that may have been transmuted into community property or commingled with marital property.
2. All post marital accumulations are community property. See California Family Code Section 760.
3. Community property generally is liable for the debts incurred by either spouse. See Family Code
Section 910. In other words, the community estate is liable for a debt incurred by either spouse before or
during marriage irrespective of which spouse has the management and control of the community estate
and regardless of whether one or both spouses are parties to the debt or to a judgment for the debt.
4. In this regard, it should be noted that it is the community estate and not the non-debtor spouse that
incurs the liability. There are no “community debts, only “debts for which community property is liable.
See Lezine v. Security Pacific Financial Services, Inc. 58 Cal Rptr. 2d 76 (1996).
5. On the other hand, the spouse’s separate property is liable only for that spouse’s debts. See Family
Code Section 913.

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