2

In community property states such as California and Texas, I know all all property acquired after marriage belongs to both spouses equally, however, if a property was acquired after marriage when that marriage occurred in a foreign country, does the community property law still apply to division of property (e.g. both spouses divide the property equally) if a spouse files for divorce (assuming both spouses now live in the community property state)? Also, if the acquired property after marriage does not contain the title of other spouse that was married from a foreign country, does the community property law still apply to division of property if either of the spouses files for divorce (assuming both spouses now live in the community property state)?

1 Answer 1

2

As background, the fact that the marriage occurred in a foreign country isn't very important, marriages in a foreign country are recognized in the U.S. as valid (with the exception of certain polygamous marriages and child marriages and incestuous marriages).

The divorce laws of the place of the divorce apply absent one exception for "quasi-community property" described below, without regard to where the marriage was entered into by the parties, and the decision to recognize "quasi-community property" is up to the state where the divorce occurs.

If a property was acquired after marriage when that marriage occurred in a foreign country, does the community property law still apply to division of property (e.g. both spouses divide the property equally) if a spouse files for divorce (assuming both spouses now live in the community property state)?

Most countries in the world follow a community property regime (the main exceptions are common law countries and Islamic law countries).

But many common law countries and many U.S. states that do not follow community property rules still treat property acquired by the couple while married in a community property state as community property (this is called "quasi-community property").

The reverse (i.e. treating property acquired outside a community property state as separate property) is much less common, if it is done at all.

if the acquired property after marriage does not contain the title of other spouse that was married from a foreign country, does the community property law still apply to division of property if either of the spouses files for divorce (assuming both spouses now live in the community property state)?

Yes. And, community property cannot be transferred or sold without the permission of both spouses even if only titled in the name of only one of them. See California Family Code §§ 1100-1103.

Spouses may not solely act on any whole piece, or 100%, of community property. They must have the other spouse's permission to do the following:

*Transfer or sell the item

*Alter the item

*Destroy the item

(Source)

The whole point of a community property system is that ownership between spouses is not controlled by legal title to the property.

4
  • If the spouse doesn't have a title to the property acquired after marriage, how does community property law still apply? Apr 22 at 7:50
  • 1
    To my knowledge if the marriage occurred in a foreign country, it is still recognized as a marriage in the US, so this should not make a difference.
    – quarague
    Apr 22 at 8:20
  • @quarague Many expats go through the inconvenience of taking a day off work and going to get married in front of a judge. I have a family member who got married to the same person twice, once in South Africa and once in Italy
    – Neil Meyer
    Apr 22 at 13:25
  • @HelloDarkWorld "If the spouse doesn't have a title to the property acquired after marriage, how does community property law still apply?" This is the whole point of community property. Property titled in the name of either spouse is community property. In a community property state like California, if you are married, you can sell real estate titled solely in your own name without your spouse signing off.
    – ohwilleke
    Apr 22 at 15:04

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .