community property

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Community property refers to assets acquired during a marriage by either spouse. These assets can include property, income and even debt. Not all states recognize community property. In a “community property” state (such as California), any income, real estate, or other property acquired by either spouse during the marriage belongs to both spouses. Under community property laws, both spouses own everything equally, regardless of who purchased it or earned the income. This is often contrasted with “separate property” states.

[Last updated in July of 2022 by the Wex Definitions Team