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Could you give me a short but full explanation of what can…

Could you give me a...
Could you give me a short but full explanation of what can be purchased by one spouse in a community property state? If I live in WA (hypothetical) and buy a chair or lawn furniture, or a decorative wreath, without the participation of my spouse, is that legal? I read the page and it seems it is not - if I bought from a place where returns are possible of the said merchandise(said here), then if I ask the spouse for approval and return it if they do not want it, does that cover the legal aspects of this? I also read IRAs if separate remain separate property along with earnings, and that if you have a separate business the earnings from it are community property. Please summarize so I have few questions - can a post nup handle this?
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Answered in 14 minutes by:
2/16/2018
Legal Eagle
Legal Eagle, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Hello! I am a licensed attorney, admitted to practice in state and federal court. I have a nearly 100% satisfaction rating (click here for more info) so all that means is that you can count on me to help today. Because I want to provide you with the most accurate answer possible, do you mind if I take a moment to review your question?

Please keep in mind that our conversation does not include an attorney-client relationship and this is for general information purposes only.

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Thank you for your patience. In a community property state, any property that is purchased during the course of the marriage is going to be presumed to be community property. Property that is purchased using separate property funds, which would be funds such as money from an inheritance or rent from a property purchased before the marriage, will be characterized as separate property.

In your case, if you purchase a lawn chair without your spouse, it will not matter as it will still be community property, unless that property was bought with separate property funds as discussed above.

As far as your IRAs, because they are personal property much like a lawn chair, then it is going to still be considered community property if it is purchased during the course of the marriage. If the IRAs are funded with separate property funds, then the IRAs will be presumed to be separate property, meaning that it won't be divided upon divorce. For instance, if a person invests in a business before marriage and takes those profits and invests them in an IRA, then the IRA will remain separate property.

A post nuptial agreement is the one thing that can handle this. If the post nup is in writing and signed by both parties, they can change the characterization of the property.

Did you have any other questions for me about this?

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
If the spouse says, you have a set amount per month for discretionary or free spending, like $300, does that cover
this issue? Does it have to be documented?

This doesn't need to be documented. The parties could agree to do something like that; however, if the money can be traced back to a community source (job income, for example) then whatever the money purchases is still community property.

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Customer reply replied 6 months ago
Right, and thank you. If a business is set up after marriage, and profits and income are derived from it, is that all community property then, the value of the business if it is sold, and the profits from it?

Yes, all of the income from the business is going to be community property, including the value and the profits.

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