What Does Community Property Mean?
Is It Right For You?
Community Property Law vs. Taking Title
Arizona is one of nine states that recognizes community property.
Any assets that are purchased, earned, or whose values have increased after marriage are considered community property.
Basically you own the assets 50/50 with your spouse.
Maybe with a fancy attorney you can find a work around.
If you own property before becoming married that property can continue to be treated as being owned sole and separate.
Real estate gifted or inherited after marriage can also be treated as sole and separately owned. See
our Arizona title page for more info on sole and separate.
If you are married and purchase property with your spouse you are able to take title as community. If somehow no method is
chosen and the issue eventually goes to the courts they will most likely assume this method of title.
Your Arizona title insurance policy can be taken in many different forms.
Community property means that you and your spouse own exactly one half of an undivided interest in the property.
Maybe you are smarter than me, but the first time I heard that it made no sense to me.
First of all, you must be married and live in one of the nine states that recognize this method of taking title.
Although it is important to realize that if you owned the property
before marriage then the property can continue to be treated as a separately owned asset.
You and your spouse each own 50% of the property, and you can not sell your half to someone else. This is the undivided
portion. All decisions about the property must be made in agreement together.
For example, if your marriage does not work out for some reason, your spouse can not sell their half of the property to a
third party or to encumber the property. (Encumber is a fancy word for take out a loan on the property). If you do get a divorce
the courts will likely split the property interest 50/50 and one of the ex-spouses will buy out the other or the property will be
The 50% interest that you own can be conveyed by will to your heirs upon death.
This sounds good, but its not all good. If you do choose this method of taking title then make sure you and your spouse
have a will. If your spouse dies without a will then the property is going to have to go through probate to determine who
receives the decedents portion. This will add unnecessary expenses and complications that can be avoided with a little
As an alternative find out what it means to add the right of survivorship.
Once finished reading about community property
you can return to our Arizona title
or back to our home page to continue researching Peoria AZ real estate.