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Westlake Village, CA |

I got married this past July 2008. I dated my wife for 8 years. She purchased 3 properties and I owned 2 prior to our marriage, now we own 5 properties. None purchased during the the time married. No prenuptual aggreement between us. We live in California and have our main residence here. Would these properties be considered Separate if we were to divorce after 5 months of marriage. Or, because of no prenup, are they Community Property and everything would have to be sold and divided equally?

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I believe you are saying that your wife owned her three properties before the two of you married, and that you owned your two properties before you got married? So long as no one changed title on the properties, her three properties would continue to be her separate property, and your two properties would continue to be your separate property. The act of getting married does not convert the property you already own into community property. It is only the properties that were purchased after your July, 2008 date of marriage, or properties that you changed titled on that would be community property.

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Based upon the facts you recite here, all 5 houses are separate property (unelss title has been changed). That said, however, once you got married, your income, and that of your wife, became community property. Assuming the monthly payments on the properties were made out of current earings, and assuming further that these earnings are community property, the community wil have a right to be reimbursed for the principal payment portion (not the interest) for all post-marital payments on all houses (unless the payments were made out of rental income, which a different situation). Since you wer married a very short time, I would imagine that these amounts are relatively small. I suggest you speak with an experienced family law attorney who can consult with you at no charge and who is close to your location. Hey...wait a minute...that would be me! Check out my website (below) and give me a call. And if not me, someone like me. Good luck!

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