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What are the "community property" states?

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Quick Answer

There are nine states in America whose laws regarding marriage, taxes and divorce make them community property states, as of 2015, according to About.com. These states include: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

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Full Answer

"Community property" is a legal term meaning that any property owned by a married couple is considered in the eyes of the law to be jointly owned by both partners together. This has implications for married individuals in those nine states who file separate tax returns. The IRS requires that married couples filing separately list half of their community income -- which includes salaries and wages they earned while married -- on each partner's tax return. Separate income, such as rent earned from a property owned solely by one partner, is listed only on the tax return filed by the person who earned it.

The concept of community property is also relevant for couples in those nine states who choose to divorce. In those cases, the married couple's assets are divided equally between each partner. An exception to this general rule is when the spouses sign a prenuptial agreement or other legal contract specifying how their assets are to be divided in the event of a divorce, which overrides the community property law, according to LegalZoom.

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