Arizona is a community property state. “Community property” is a term that refers to how the property, during a marriage, is viewed in the eyes of the courts. In community property states all property accumulated by a husband and wife during their marriage becomes joint property. In plain terms, this means that all property belongs to both husband and wife equally if it was acquired during the marriage. Even if it was originally acquired in the name of only one partner.
Conversely, all property acquired before marriage, or through a gift or inheritance during marriage, is presumed to be the sole and separate property of the spouse who has acquired the property. As with anything in law, there are exceptions, but this is the general rule.
The character of property as community or sole & separate can be important. For example, if spouses divorce, each will retain his or her sole and separate property just as if they had never been married. Any community property will be divided equitably. Equitably does not always mean equally. However, an “equitable” division of assets means a fair division.