Most people in Arizona, and practically all married people here, have heard the term “community property.” Most people have a general idea of what it is, but most of us aren’t sure what makes property community property; whether we want something to be community property; or how to convert property into or out of being community property. These are important issues because they impact property ownership, particularly regarding division pursuant to a divorce, and may impact taxes and inheritance where divorce is not involved.

Property, including earnings, acquired during marriage, is legally presumed to be marital community property in Arizona. This presumption can be overcome by clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. Problems occur when such evidence is lacking.

For example, a property might be viewed as separately owned by one spouse, to the exclusion of the other spouse but, because of community property rights, the other spouse, has rights to that property. A piece of real estate may be mistitled in a way that causes capital gains tax advantages from community property status to be missed, causing an increase in tax liability. A piece of property is often labeled as separate in order to assure it stays in one spouse’s family where there is a second marriage and stepchildren. Again, this assumption is sometimes incorrect and the desired inheritance is missed.

At Arizona Mobile Attorneys we can advise you as to the status of property, the advantages and disadvantages of that status, and help you take actions to further your best interests regarding ownership, taxes, and inheritance regarding your property.