The term "marital property" refers to assets acquired during the course of the marriage that are shared, excluding items acquired before the marriage and a few other types of property. Ironically, the marital property only becomes an issue when a couple gets divorced and the court must split their belongings.
State marital property laws are typically defined by whether they adhere to community property or equitable division rules. States that recognize community property usually split belongings right down the middle (absent an agreement by the two parties), while equitable division is more nuanced and seeks to provide each party with what they need based on their earning potential and other factors.
This article provides a brief overview of marital property laws in Arizona.
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. You may also access FindLaw's Divorce and Property section for additional articles and helpful resources regarding this topic.
§ 25-211 et seq. of the Arizona Revised Statutes
|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 is owned by one spouse prior to marriage and any rent, profit, or increase in value of that property is classified as separate property.
§ 25-201 et seq. of the Arizona Revised Statutes
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.