Although the issue rarely arises in everyday life, the concept of marital property becomes important when entering into a marriage. The term "marital property" refers to all possessions and interests acquired by a couple during the period of their marriage. Understanding or keeping track of marital property isn't really something that most married couples even consider. But if divorce becomes a reality, issues of who owns what come into play.
Defining Marital Property in Arizona
Arizona is one of a few states that follows a community property approach to classifying marital property, as opposed to the equitable distribution approach followed by a majority of the states. The term "community property" refers to all property acquired during the marriage, which is owned equally by each spouse and thus will be divided 50/50 upon divorce. In contrast, equitable distribution divides marital property in a "fair" manner, which gives courts more discretion to determine what's fair.
Arizona Marital Property Laws at a Glance
While statutes serve as the best source of information, they're usually written in language that isn't user-friendly. For this reason, it can help to also read a summary of the statute written in plain English. In the following table, you'll find a brief overview of marital property laws in Arizona as well as links to relevant statutes.
Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 25, Chapter 2, Article 2, Section 25-211, et seq. (Property Rights and Contract Powers)
|Community Property Recognized?
|What's Classified as Community Property?
All property acquired by either spouse during the marriage except property that one spouse acquires:
- As a gift or inheritance; or
- After service of a petition for divorce, legal separation or annulment (as long as the petition results in a decree).
|What's Classified as Separate Property?
In addition to the exceptions mentioned above, real and personal property owned by one spouse prior to marriage and any rent, profit, or increase in value of that property is classified as separate property.
Arizona Revised Statutes, Title 25, Chapter 2, Article 1, Section 25-201, et seq. (Arizona Uniform Premarital Agreement Act)
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
Arizona Marital Property Laws: Related Resources
For additional information and resources related to this topic, please visit the links listed below.
Speak to an Attorney to Better Understand Marital Property Laws in Arizona
While property rights may not be on your mind when you're planning to get married, it's important to be aware of how they'll be affected after you've tied the knot. If you'd like to learn more about Arizona marital property laws, it's best to speak to a local family law attorney who can explain how the laws apply to your unique circumstances.