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Arizona Divorce | Arizona is a ‘Community Property State

This verbiage is taken directly from the Superior Court of Arizona Website

Arizona is referred to as a Community Property State because of the way our state laws treat the property and debts of a married couple. 

Community property generally means that a married couple equally share the ownership of anything the couple purchased, acquired, or paid for during the marriage.

It does not matter who uses the property, who paid the money or in whose name the title to the property is taken. In the eyes of the Court, neither spouse has a greater claim to community property than the other. 

Community Property Is Not Only Real Estate

Community property is not just land or buildings. It includes all kinds of things like money (all forms – cash, bank accounts, investment accounts, and certificates of deposit), jewelry, home furnishings, automobiles, boats, and stock options.

And don’t forget the wages or earnings of both spouses during the marriage. 

Even retirement plans can be part of the community estate assets. 

Personal Property 

Except for things that one spouse or the other receives by gift or inheritance which are considered Personal Property.

All property that either spouse purchases during the marriage is generally considered to be community property unless proven otherwise.   

It’s important to determine and place a value on the community property, including debts on the community property that are owed. 

In a dissolution case the court is required by law to divide the community property in a fair (not necessarily equal) way. 

If the spouses do not make each other and the court aware of what community property exists, the final court order may not include necessary terms that show exactly what property each spouse should receive when the marriage ends. 

If a retirement plan or pension is involved, the court may have to sign a special order (a “Qualified Domestic Relations Order”) so the company that keeps the retirement monies or handles the pension knows when and how to divide the account or plan payments. 

 

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