Characterization of Property - Separate Property
California Family Code, sections 770-772

770. (a) Separate property of a married person includes all of the following:

(1) All property owned by the person before marriage.

(2) All property acquired by the person after marriage by gift, bequest, devise, or descent.

(3) The rents, issues, and profits of the property described in this section.

(b) A married person may, without the consent of the person's spouse, convey the person's separate property.

771. (a) The earnings and accumulations of a spouse and the minor children living with, or in the custody of, the spouse, while living separate and apart from the other spouse, are the separate property of the spouse.

(b) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), the earnings and accumulations of an unemancipated minor child related to a contract of a type described in Section 6750 shall remain the sole legal property of the minor child.

772. After entry of a judgment of legal separation of the parties, the earnings or accumulations of each party are the separate property of the party acquiring the earnings or accumulations.

In other words, if the property was acquired during the marriage while the parties were domiciled in California, a general presumption applies that the property is community. The presumption can be rebutted by showing by a preponderance of the evidence (i.e., that it is more likely than not) that the property is separate—that is, it was acquired before marriage, while the parties were living separate and apart, or by gift, or is otherwise traceable to a separate property source, or by establishing a contrary agreement or understanding.









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