Community Property Definition

Community property is a legal concept embodied in some state laws. Community property jurisdictions are largely confined to Western states, including Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. Puerto Rico and Alaska also feature aspects of community property jurisdictions. In a community property jurisdiction, most property acquired during a marriage is owned jointly by both spouses and, in the event of divorce or death it must be divided by court order. Different states use different processes to determine an equitable or equal distribution. Property owned prior to the marriage, as well as some property bequeathed specifically to only one spouse during the marriage, are not always considered community property.