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Understanding community property

A number of people in California and throughout the United States end their marriage by filing for divorce. During the process, they are forced to separate their marital items, or the property and finances they accumulated during the time they were married. When considering this marital or community property, most people think of the family vehicles, homes, furniture and the money in the savings account. There are, however, many other marital items that divorcing couples may not think of. Some of the property and assets that often get overlooked could total a considerable amount of money.

Couples should keep in mind the following items when separating property in a divorce. Lottery ticket winnings, term life insurance policies, tax refunds, benefits from past employers and capital loss carryover are just a few assets that could be considered marital property. Furthermore, expensive collections, including art, antiques, coins, horses, cars and furniture may also be divided between parties in a divorce settlement. Points that are accumulated on memberships or travel reward points may be divided as well.

Although it is not tangible, intellectual property may be separated in a divorce. This involves patents, trademarks and copyrights, as well as the royalties received from these types of property. Gifts that spouses give to one another during the course of the marriage may be divided, while gifts given by an outside party usually stays with the recipient. These are just a few items that people should consider when trying to distinguish between marital and separate property.