Arizona is one of a handful of states that follows community property laws in divorce property division proceedings. Community property laws state that any assets or debt that are acquired during the marriage are considered to be the property of both spouses. Those assets and debt are then usually split evenly between the parties in the absence of an agreement. If the spouses can’t find a way to split the assets evenly, the assets are often sold and then the proceeds are split evenly.
Many spouses who are facing divorce wonder whether there are exceptions to community property. According to Arizona state law, there are a two types of assets that can be excluded from community property. The first type is based on how the property was received. If it was a gift specifically for one spouse, then it usually isn’t considered to be community property. Similarly, if one spouse specifically inherited an asset from a friend or family member, that property usually isn’t considered to be community property.
The second exemption from community property is based on when the asset was acquired. If it was acquired before the divorce was finalized but after the petition had been properly served, then the asset can be excluded from community property. Also, if the asset was clearly owned by one spouse before the couple was married, it may be excluded from community property.
These exceptions exist to help individuals protect certain assets they feel shouldn’t be split in divorce. It may be necessary for an individual to provide proof that an asset meets those exception rules. The individual may have to show a receipt documenting the date of the asset’s acquisition or even call on a witness who could verify that the asset was a gift or inheritance. An attorney could help clients verify that their assets should be excluded from community property.