THURMAN'S FAMILY LAW AND DIVORCE TIPS -
FAMILY CODE SECTION 760 AND THE COMMUNITY PROPERTY PRESUMPTION
FC section 760 states the basic "time-rule" presumption that all property acquired during marriage or RDP and before the date of physical separation (see section 771) is presumed to belong to the community. However, it is a weak presumption in that it can be defeated when it comes into conflict with separate property presumptions (see section 770) and rules that usually relate to the form of title presumptions.
In my many years experience as a California divorce attorney I've represented hundreds of people who've inadvertently waived their community property interest, often by unknowingly causing or submitting to transmutations (changes in the character of property from community to separate and vice-versa) by signing quitclaim deeds - although it is fair to say that many spouses unwittingly impair their pre-marital separate property interests by adding the other to record title as well.
The one unifying experience I observe is that people rarely knew the consequences of their actions relative to their community property rights, at least those dissolving first marriages. For parties who've previously been divorced, serious power imbalances can arise in their favor simply based upon the insights they've gained in the first or earlier go-arounds and don't think that they don't apply what they know to their advantage before the chinks in your relationship become evident. Love short-circuits common-sense, and if you intend to marry the best money you might ever spend (aside from entering into a premarital agreement) is to buy a few hours of an expert family lawyer's time to learn the landscape of the community property rules and pitfalls.
Read our Date of Separation Blogs For Much More Information!
CALIFORNIA FAMILY CODE
CHARACTERIZATION OF MARITAL PROPERTY
WHAT IS COMMUNITY PROPERTY?
Except as otherwise provided by statute, all property, real or personal, wherever situated, acquired by a married person during the marriage while domiciled in this state is community property.