Community Property is the rule of law followed in the following states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. All other states follow the rule of separate property. In a community property state, each spouse has 50% ownership in all property acquired during the marriage. It includes money and wages earned during the marriage, and anything purchased with that money - unless the spouses agree otherwise in a prenuptial agreement. However, property acquired through gift or inheritance is considered separate property, as well as property acquired before the marriage. When determining whether property is community or separate property, you should consider the source of the money used to purchase the property. This is particularly true with insurance policies. In a community property state, a spouse may leave only their half interest in any community property. For instance, if a coin collection is community property, the husband may only give away a one-half interest in collection through a living trust or will.
Property accumulated through joint efforts of husband and wife and owned by them in equal shares. This doctrine of ownership now exists in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington State.