What is Arizona’s Community Property Law?

Are you engaged in divorce proceedings or otherwise considering divorce? Among the many considerations is what will become of the marital assets. How will they be divided? Who gets what? With such concerns, it is wise to be informed about property division and property laws in Arizona divorces. Our law firm is proud to lend knowledgeable legal advice to those needing a little guidance in this regard.

Arizona is one of nine community property states in the US. Everything earned or incurred during an Arizona marriage is considered community property, meaning both spouses share it. This is an important factor to understand, as it informs divorcing spouses of how their marital property will be divided in a divorce. It doesn’t matter whether one spouse purchased it without the financial assistance of the other spouse; as long as it was purchased during the marriage, it will be considered shared property or community property in most instances.

In an Arizona divorce, family law courts strive for equitable distribution of assets between the two spouses. Under the state’s community property laws, that means that each spouse owns approximately 50% of all community property in the marriage. Some marital property cannot be split directly down the middle. In such instances, the property’s value is first determined, and then one spouse has the option of buying out the other spouse’s interest in that property.

What is Considered Community Property in an Arizona Marriage?

All assets that have been accumulated during the course of an Arizona marriage will be considered shared community property between the two spouses. Many assume this to mean only real estate and automobiles, but it extends beyond that.

Potential community assets may include the following:

  • Art and collectibles.
  • Boats.
  • Bonuses.
  • Businesses.
  • Cars.
  • Commissions.
  • Debts.
  • Dividends.
  • Income.
  • Investments.
  • Jewelry.
  • Land.
  • Life insurance policies.
  • Personal property.
  • Real estate property.
  • Retirement accounts.
  • Savings.
  • Taxable investment accounts.
  • Wages and earnings.
  • And more.

If you believe a certain asset should or should not be considered community property, you must speak with a divorce attorney about your case. Our law firm is staffed by a highly skilled legal team fully capable of handling even the most complicated Arizona divorce cases. To learn more about our legal services, please contact our law firm for a case evaluation.

What Are Examples of Sole Separate Property?

Not all property is to be considered community property in a marriage. There is such a thing as separate property in Arizona divorces.

Separate property is not divided between the divorcing spouses. This type of asset may be something that you purchased prior to the marriage, such as your house or car. Other potential separate property may include assets you obtained through an inheritance or as gifts.

However, please note that separate property easily becomes commingled property and might lose its separate legal status. From then on, that property may be considered part of the marital estate. For example, if you had financial assets prior to your marriage and then moved those finances into a shared marital bank account, your separate financial assets would become commingled assets, essentially making them community property.

If you bring separate property that is solely owned by you into a marriage, it is vital that you find a way to keep it separate. That often means never mixing it with community property, shared ownership, or marital assets. To learn more, please contact our legal team.

Is Arizona a 50/50 State When it Comes to the Distribution of Assets in a Divorce Case?

Arizona tries to keep things as equal as possible in divorce cases. While a 50/50 split might be the intent, splitting everything right down the middle is often impossible. Arizona courts will attempt to make things as equal as they can.

How Are Business Assets Divided?

If you and your soon-to-be ex-partner started a business together with shared community funds and labor, that business will be considered part of your community property and will be subject to division by the family law court overseeing your divorce case.

If, however, the business was started by one spouse before the marriage, the business may be considered sole, separate property.

What About Property That is Owned in Another State?

If you or your soon-to-be ex-spouse own real property like a house or land in another state, Arizona courts may not have jurisdiction over that property. This may lead to some legal issues, especially in cases where your spouse resides in a different state other than Arizona.

If you wish to see the out-of-state real property divided as community property in a divorce, an Arizona family law judge must establish personal jurisdiction over your spouse in the divorce proceedings. If the court elects to establish personal jurisdiction over your spouse, the court may potentially order your spouse to divide the out-of-state real property the same as any shared Arizona property.

Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Divorce Attorney Today

Divorce is a challenging process to go through, both legally and emotionally. If you are going through a divorce in Arizona, seeking professional legal representation to defend your legal rights is highly recommended.

The firm of Arizona Family Law Attorneys has years of experience dedicated to family law cases like divorce, child custody, and more. We are uniquely qualified to represent your legal interests and divorce case and help you retain the assets you deserve.

Contact our Phoenix-based law office to schedule your initial consultation today. (480) 448-0608.