There are nine states where marital property laws are governed by community property rules, a scheme derived from Spanish law under which married persons are considered to own their property, assets, and income jointly. The other states are governed by common law rules, which had its ancestral origins in England and under which the two parties to a marriage retain separate ownership of property they had prior to the marriage; in the event of a divorce under common law rules, the couple’s property is usually distributed equally between the two. In Alaska, a married couple can make a “community property election” under a statute enacted in 1988.

The community property states are:

Arizona

California

Idaho

Louisiana

Nevada

New Mexico

Texas

Washington

Wisconsin