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Community Property Questions For First-Time Divorces


People who are getting a divorce often have questions, especially if they are doing so in Nevada, which has a different system than most other states. If you are beginning the process, you may have questions about the community property system, and how it works in divorces like yours. Contacting an experienced attorney can be a great help going forward.

Community Property Usually Divided Equally

The idea of community property means that each spouse owns all the property (and the debts) acquired during the marriage equally – that property is “communal”. There are exceptions – property granted to one spouse “by gift, bequest, devise, [or] descent” is exempt, meaning that if it is inherited or specifically gifted to the individual spouse, it is not community property. However, the majority of the time, anything acquired will be divided equally between you and your spouse.

It is possible for the court to divide community property in a way that is not equal, but it is rare. The court seeks to divide community property equally “to the extent practicable,” meaning that if there is a good reason that can be entered into the record to justify it, the court may award one spouse a larger share of the assets than the other. An unequal division may also happen if the spouses have a prenuptial agreement that sets out a specific asset division, as long as it is not against the law or in violation of public policy.

Separate Property Can Become Community Property

It is important to keep in mind that while community property generally does not become separate property during a marriage, separate property can become community property. Generally, this occurs when separate and community property become commingled, meaning they are no longer kept separate from each other. For example, money in a separate bank account stays separate property (in most cases), but money deposited in a joint checking account may become community property because it can no longer be distinguished from the other community money in the account.

This also applies to tangible assets and real property. If, for example, Husband owns an automobile as separate property, and uses community money to pay for its upkeep, chances are that Wife will have a partial interest in the automobile even though it may not be in her name. While every case is different, Nevada generally sees marriages as partnerships (‘communities,’ so to speak) and will act in that way.

Call An Experienced Las Vegas Divorce Attorney

Divorce is never easy, but it can be particularly confusing when Nevada’s system of community property is altogether new to you. If you need help understanding what your options are, contacting an experienced Las Vegas divorce lawyer can help. The Kainen Law Group can provide knowledgeable and dedicated representation for you. Call today to schedule a consultation.


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