What Is Quasi-Community Property?
If you think “quasi-community property” is one of those technical-sounding
terms of legal jargon that was invented to confuse people, you wouldn’t
be completely wrong. However, quasi-community has a subtle but significant
role in the
division of marital assets and liabilities upon divorce.
Under California law, the spouses of a marriage that ends due to death
or divorce are entitled to an equal share of what is called the “community
estate.” California Family Code § 63 defines “community
estate” to mean both
So what is community property, exactly? Under California Family Code §
760, community property refers to “all property, real or personal,
wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while
domiciled in this state.”
California Family Code § 125 defines “quasi-community property”
as “all real or personal property, wherever situated, acquired…by
either spouse, while domiciled elsewhere which would have been community
property if the spouse who acquired the property had been domiciled in
this state…[or] in exchange for real or personal property, wherever
situated, which would have been community property [if acquired in California.]”
Therefore, the primary distinction between quasi-community property and
quasi-community property is where the parties lived at the time they acquired
property. Simply put, community property covers property a married couple
obtains while living in California, while quasi-community property includes
property a married couple obtained while residing outside California.
Why Is This All Necessary?
If both community and quasi-community property are equally divided when
a marriage ends, then why the distinction? Historically, the definition
of “community property” in California broadly covered any
property the couple acquired in another state if such property would qualify
as community property had they acquired it in California. Thus, the old
definition of community property used to include the definition of quasi-community property.
Although quasi-community property and community property are conceptually
indistinguishable regarding the division of marital assets in California,
quasi-community property was historically treated differently when it
came to dividing liability for marital debts. The former rules relating
to quasi-community property treated quasi-community property like separate
property for purposes of determining liability for debts.
However, California law regarding community property changed in 1984, treating
quasi-community property like community property for the purpose of determining
liability issues as well.
According to the California Law Revision Commission, reversal of the old
quasi-community property rule “is consistent with the public policy
of California that the marital unit shared its assets and its liabilities.
This policy is particularly important in the area of creditors’
remedies not only because it promotes sharing of common obligations but
also because it helps ensure equal access to credit by both spouses and
protects California creditors who extend credit in reliance on the availability
of marital assets to satisfy debts.”
Therefore, quasi-community property is the vestige of a time where one
spouse had more rights than the other spouse when it came to acquiring
property and credit. By treating community property and quasi-community
property the same for purposes of property division and debt division,
the spouses have equal rights and responsibilities for the assets and
financial obligations they acquired as a married couple.
You Can Count on Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich
If you are going through a divorce or other legal matter involving California
family law, you should seek legal counsel to preserve your legal rights
an interests. At Hanson, Gorian, Bradford & Hanich, we have experience
helping families in Riverside find fair and effective solutions for their
For a consultation, call us at (951) 687-6003 or
contact our office online today.