Is Nevada a Community Property State?

Nevada is a community property state, meaning all assets and property acquired by either spouse in a marriage are split 50/50.
Written by Bellina Gaskey
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
is one of nine US states considered to be community property states, which means that it requires all assets and property acquired during a marriage to be split 50/50, including income and real estate unless the spouses have a separate agreement. 
Divorces are already complicated enough, and it can be a fresh source of contention to determine who gets each of your precious possessions. States like Nevada decided to make this straightforward: each spouse is entitled to 50% of all property and assets.
Here to walk you through the process of understanding a community property state and what it means for your life is the
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What is a community property state?

A community property state considers all materials and assets gained by either member of a marriage jointly owned and therefore subject to a 50/50 split in the event of a divorce. This includes things like real estate, savings, personal property, and even debt. 
Nevada is a community property state, along with: 
  • Arizona
  • California 
  • Idaho
  • Louisiana
  • New Mexico
  • Texas
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin 
All other states adhere to a common law system, which allows each spouse to claim the property purchased in their name during a divorce. If your name is on the receipt, you have the right to the item. 
Community property states purport to simplify the divorce process by requiring an even property split.

Separate property vs. joint property

Community property law applies to most types of property, but not all. Here are some things excluded from community property provisions:
  • Any gifts for either you or your spouse
  • Anything inherited during the marriage by you or your spouse
  • Anything obtained by either spouse through a trust fund or will
  • Anything you or your spouse had before the marriage
  • Anything you obtained while you and your spouse were legally separated
  • Any profits or rewards resulting from ownership of the above (e.g., current rent payments on a rental house purchased by one spouse prior to the marriage)

What is considered community property in Nevada?

Nevada considers all property obtained during the marriage to be community property unless a prenuptial agreement, other contract made by the couple, or court states otherwise. 
The exceptions listed above, like items obtained before the marriage or during a legal separation, are considered separate property instead.
Prenuptial agreements (or “prenups”) can circumvent state property laws by outlining a binding agreement between the parties prior to the marriage ceremony. Similarly, if the couple reaches their own agreement before or during the divorce, a judge can waive the 50/50 split.
Key Takeaway “Community property” includes items obtained by either spouse during a marriage, no matter who purchased it. Gifts, inheritances, or items acquired before the marriage are considered “separate property” and not subject to community property law. 

Are there restrictions on how to use community property while I’m still married?

In Nevada, either spouse is entitled to use, sell, or give away community property as long as:
  • Neither spouse bequeaths more than 50% of property in their individual will 
  • Real estate community property is sold with both spouses’ consent
  • Gifts are given with both spouses’ consent

How is community property divided in Nevada?

While community property divorces may seem simple, the reality is that divorce is always messy. If the couple owns one car, both members will still want the car even if they’ll each end up with the same amount of money either way!
If the divorce is uncontested, the couple may work it out on their own how to split their community property possessions (50/50 or unevenly, if there’s an alternate agreement in place) or have a judge divide the property.
If the divorce is contested, meaning one spouse does not want the separation, the distribution of community property will likely fall into the judge’s hands.
In either case, the judge will work to ensure that each spouse gets an equal net value of property and that individual items go to whoever needs them based on childcare, finances, and other obligations. 
Note: since debt acquired by either person during the marriage is considered community property, both spouses are liable to have property seized by the lender if the debt is unpaid. 

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The engagement ring is given by one member of the couple to the other before a marriage, so it is technically considered separate property.
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