Arizona is a community property state, which means that all marital property is divided equally between the spouses in the event of a divorce. However, it is important to remember that not all the assets that were acquired by an individual during the course of the marriage are considered community property. Article 25 Section 213 of Title 25 of Arizona Revised Statutes clearly states what separate property is.
According to this section, property that is acquired by a person before marriage is considered separate property. Additionally, property that a married individual obtains through inheritance, gifts, rents, issues or profits earned from an existing separate property is considered separate property. Also, any property that a married individual acquires after filing a petition for divorce is considered separate property. This rule, however, is applicable only if the petition for dissolution of marriage is approved by an Arizona court.
Other separate property includes mortgages or deeds of trust that were executed for a real property after being served a notice for annulment of marriage, legal separation and divorce. However, if an Arizona court does not approve the petition for annulment of marriage, legal separation or divorce, the mortgages or deeds of trust are not considered to be separate property. Finally, if one spouse pays the premium for an insurance policy for which the other spouse is the beneficiary or if that spouse contributes to an irrevocable trust for which the other spouse is the beneficiary, the payments or contributions made in such cases are considered to be separate property of the spouse who made those payments or contributions.
As you may agree, property division is often one of the most contested aspects of a divorce proceeding. While it is true that Arizona laws make a clear distinction between community property and separate property, it is often difficult to determine community and separate property in real-life settings. Therefore, spouses who have decided to lead separate lives may get in touch with a family law attorney who would be able to explain the differences clearly and also guide them through the entire divorce process.