Lars's meeting with Duncan and Bernie resumes. Duncan says the effect of a married couple's liabilities on their community and separate property is a little tricky, but it's important in cases where the question arises. He gives an illustration. A woman from a wealthy family marries a guy who's a budding obstetrician. If she allows her separate property to become community property, either by agreement or by commingling, and a medical malpractice case arises against her husband, then her property is exposed to the case. If she keeps it segregated and makes no community property agreement, the claimant may not get at it.
Duncan lines out part of the theory. The income of a married person from work is community property. The idea is a married couple is like a partnership, with each performing a different part of the work, but with both contributing to the overall effort. So the income from work is community, but so are the liabilities. Not so with the wife's separate property. If the assets from her family were in trust for her, that would likely be even better protected than separate property.