My son in law has been sued by a client. He established a residence separate from his wife just prior to the lawsuit having been filed, claiming the separation will protect her share of their assets. This is a physical separation, not a legal separation. Is it true that this will protect her share of their assets in California, which is a community property state?
3 Answers from Attorneys
I see no way that the separation will protect the wife's community property interest from any judgment that may be entered against the husband.
Unless your son and his wife managed not to form a community when they married, their rights and liabilities to the community are still in place.
If the separation is intended to be permanent, then I believe your son and his wife both started to accrue separate property when he moved out. (If they decided to make it permanent later, then that is when they started to accrue separate property instead of community property.) But things that belonged to the community before the separation remain community property now, and will stay that way until the marriage has ended. That means each spouse's share of the community is still vulnerable to claims against the other.
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