Arizona is one of nine states that have adopted the community property system. This means that the assets you and your spouse acquired during your marriage will be split between you on a 50-50 basis when you divorce.
There are, however, certain circumstances that affect the definition of personal property and whether the income you earn is community property.
Community property reasoning
The idea behind community property is that marriage is a partnership, with each spouse contributing labor for the benefit of all. They should therefore share equally in any profits or income, regardless of which spouse earned or acquired the community property.
The issue of common law marriage
Arizona does not allow common law marriage but will recognize it if it was established in another state. If that is the case – for example, if you moved to Arizona from Texas, where the law recognizes common law marriage – you will be subject to Arizona law regarding community and personal property.
Personal property and money matters
Wages are personal property. If one spouse is a resident of Arizona, a community property state, but earns wages in a common-law state like Colorado or Kansas, the money will be classed under Arizona law. When the opposite scenario applies, that is, the spouse domiciles in a common-law state but earns income in Arizona, the wages will not be considered community property.
Seeking legal representation
If you have been a resident of Arizona for at least 90 days, you may file for divorce in this state. The division of your marital assets will be a major effort in the divorce process and one that may be the most painful, since the longer the marriage, the more community property you and your spouse will own. Reach out for legal assistance. An attorney experienced in family law and divorce matters in the state of Arizona is standing by to help.