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Real Property In A Community Property State


Nevada’s community property laws apply to all property acquired during a marriage, but some couples have no idea that real property may be addressed by the same laws as their personal items. If you own property with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, you may need to consult an attorney as to how to handle its division and disposition.

Separate vs. Community Property 

Nevada law holds that any property purchased or maintained during the marriage or with community funds (for example, both spouses’ paychecks would count as community funds) qualifies as community property. If you, for example, own a home before your marriage, and do not improve it with community funds, that home will likely remain your separate property after divorce. However, if you and your spouse buy a piece of land together, it will often be considered as either community property or joint tenancy. Joint tenancy is a mechanism by which the property is held so that it is automatically transferred entirely to one spouse if the other passes away. Although joint property is divided under its own statutes, from a practical standpoint the division is effectively the same as other community property.

Sometimes, though, these issues can be complex. For instance, when real property has been purchased before the marriage, such as a vacation home or plot of undeveloped land, but then augmented or improved during the marriage, using community funds. It can be difficult to determine whether the land is separate or community property. In such cases, Nevada law recognizes what is called the right to reimbursement – often, the real property will be granted to the owner, and then that spouse will reimburse the community for the other half of the property (that is, the ex-spouse’s half interest).

The Marital Home

While any piece of property will be subject to these laws, there are often additional hurdles before disposing of your marital home. In addition to determining who gets possession of the home, the equity must be divided. There are generally two possible outcomes in determining how equity can be divided – (1) the home can be sold and the proceeds divided; or (2) one person will remain in the home and have it refinanced, so that they can ‘buy out’ the other. The equity will be divided regardless, so that each spouse gets a fair share, even if it requires reimbursement to achieve this.

Seek Experienced Legal Help

Real property may seem to be a special and unique type of asset, but in reality, it follows basically the same rules as any other asset would in a community property system. If you still have questions, speaking to a Las Vegas divorce attorney to get them resolved is highly recommended. The Kainen Law Group has handled these types of cases for years, and is ready to assist you with yours. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.


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