Marital Property Laws in AZ
One of the confusing aspects of divorce is the division of marital property in Arizona. The important qualifier is “marital” property. Some assets may be deemed non-marital. How do the courts determine whether a property is marital or non-marital property?
The family court only has the authority to confirm to each party their sole and separate non-marital property. So the first thing a judge must do is make a determination as to which property is non-marital property in every divorce case. In general, any property that was acquired by either spouse prior to their marriage, or property acquired by a gift or as an inheritance, is deemed non-marital property. Any property that was acquired by either spouse during their marriage is presumed to be property of said marriage or “marital property.”
The parties may agree on how to divide their marital property in an marital property in an Arizona divorce case divorce case. If the parties do not agree on how to divide their marital property, the court will do so. The division of marital assets is required to be fair and equitable; although in some cases whether or not the court succeeded in keeping the division fair and equitable could be argued.
Marital Property Laws in Arizona | Sole and Separate Property
Generally speaking, the following would potentially be exempt from the classification of being a “marital asset”:
Property that was received by a gift or a legacy;
Property that was acquired in exchange for property that was acquired prior to the marriage;
Property acquired by a spouse after entry of a Judgment of Legal Separation;
Property that is excluded by mutual (and valid) agreement between both parties;
Any property or judgment that is awarded to one spouse from the other;
Any property acquired prior to marriage;
In many marriages, the marital and non-marital property may have been combined, such as when parties mix non-marital money in an account with marital money in the same account. This can make the process of determining marital property and non-marital process fairly complex. For instance, one spouse may have received an inheritance and then used that same inheritance to purchase the family home titled in the names of both parties or they may have simply put the inheritance into a joint bank account. You can see how quickly the line between marital assets and non-marital assets can become blurred.