Community property is property acquired by the spouses during the marriage
Community property is property acquired by the spouses during the marriage. Generally, the law presumes that any property acquired or purchased by either spouse during the marriage is community property. Community property is not just land or buildings. It includes a variety of property such as money, jewelry, home furnishings, automobiles, boats, investments, pensions, and the wages of either spouse during the marriage. Even retirement plans, pensions and business assets can be part of community property.
Arizona law provides that property obtained by a person before marriage can remain "separate property" of that spouse. Also items that the spouse acquires by gift or inheritance (and any increase in those items, such as growth in value, interest earned, or profits) are the separate property of that spouse. A husband and wife can agree on how to split their property.
It is important to know the difference between community property and separate property because in a dissolution proceeding, the Court is required by law to divide the community property in a fair and equitable but not necessarily equal way. You must be able to show the Court adequate proof of separate property.
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