How do I know if an asset is really my sole and separate property?
In the State of Arizona, any and all property is presumed to be community property. However, property is characterized at the time of its acquisition and therefore, if you owned property prior to your marriage, it is and remains your separate property – unless you gifted same to your spouse, entered an agreement to transfer same to your spouse, or commingled same with property of your spouse AND it is now indistinguishable from community property. By definition, community property is that property which is acquired during the marriage as a result of the work efforts of the husband and wife.
Even if property is established as your separate property, the community may have an interest in that property if the community has made a contribution to the improvement or maintenance of that separate property.
About the author:Mervyn Braude is a family law attorney at the Phoenix law firm of Jaburg & Wilk PC. He is a certified family law specialist by the State Bar of Arizona. Mervyn is a 2010 Southwest Super Lawyer.