Community Debts Are Not Always Divided Equally
Family Code section 2625 is very important and highly under-utilized. It
assigns debts incurred by one spouse during the marriage to that spouse
alone, IF the debt was not for the benefit of the community estate. However,
this is conceptually quite broad. The Law Revision Commission comments
to the statute state "'community benefit' arguably should
be understood to include each spouse's individual welfare and hence
to include each spouse's lawful personal consumption expenditure."
So prostitutes and gambling debts should be assigned to the party who incurred
them, but the wife may be entitled to keep those 30 purses and 100 pairs of shoes!
CALIFORNIA FAMILY CODE
DIVISION OF PROPERTY
DEBTS AND LIABILITIES
Family Code Section 2625
2624, inclusive, all separate debts, including those debts incurred by a spouse
during marriage and before the date of separation that were not incurred
for the benefit of the community, shall be confirmed without offset to
the spouse who incurred the debt.