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Community Property vs. Sole and Separate Property

In Arizona, there are two different types of property to consider when going through a divorce – community or marital property and sole and separate property. Under Arizona law, all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is presumed to be community property in which each spouse have an equal ownership interest in, regardless of which one of them obtained the property. This community property can include not only physical “things” like houses, cars, furniture, etc. acquired during the marriage, but also a spouse’s wages, earnings, bonuses, and retirement contributions during the marriage as well as a business bought or started during the marriage by one spouse.

Property acquired prior to the marriage or after service of a divorce petition is that spouse’s sole and separate property. Additionally, even property acquired during the marriage can rebut the presumption for community property and be considered sole and separate property of that respective spouse, if they either:

  1. acquired or received the property by inheritance, devise or gift; or
  2. acquired or received the property from using proceeds or monies from or through the exchange of pre-marital or other sole and separate property.

Obviously, defining what property acquired during the marriage is subject to the community property presumption or is that respective spouse’s sole and separate property can be complex and hotly debated, so having an experienced divorce attorney can help define exactly what it is you’re entitled to.

The attorneys at Owens & Perkins are well versed in dealing with these issues and will help make sure that you receive what you are entitled to. If you find yourself, a friend or a loved one are in need of family law assistance and help protecting your assets in a divorce, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.630.2464 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.

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