Are Professional Degrees Earned During Marriage Classified as Community Property?

I sometimes get asked about professional degrees, and whether the costs involved in obtaining Professional degreesthe degrees, or the future earnings one gets from having a professional degree, can or should be divided  when the parties divorce.

California courts have ruled that a professional degree is not property, therefore, it cannot be divided or inherited. It also cannot be a gift. A degree belongs solely to the individual who earned it.

The best that the non earner or non degreed spouse can do, is get reimbursed for any expenses s/he may have contributed to the education of the professional spouse, while they were married and living together.

Of course during the time that the parties are married and living together, income obtained from the professional spouse is community property, as in any other marriage. Also, as in any other marriage, after the parties are separated and living apart, all income obtained by the professional spouse is the separate property of the earner spouse.