Deanna Gulli, a retired veteran, was married to her husband Ronald for almost three decades and had two children during the course of the relationship. After 28 years of marriage, Ronald was arrested, charged and convicted for child pornography and sexual misconduct with a minor, according to a 22 News report. Ronald was sentenced to life in prison. Nevertheless, under Arizona law, upon divorce, even in these circumstances, Deanna Gulli was required to give half of her military retirement to her ex-husband. It is one of only a handful of states in the nation with community property law.

What is Community Property?

Only eight other states aside from Arizona have a statutory system in place establishing community property. They include California, Nevada, Washington, Idaho, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana and Wisconsin. For married couples, there are two types of property: community or separate. The former is owned equally by both spouses while the latter is owned by only one spouse.

Under Arizona state law, all property that is acquired during the marriage – whether real or personal, and by the husband or wife – is considered community property. The exceptions to this rule include property that is 1) received as a gift (even if given by the other spouse); 2) received by way of a will or trust; 3) received through descent, through probate of a person who died intestate (without a will or a trust). Spouses may disclaim community property interest in real estate through the valid execution and recording of a disclaimer deed. Property that the spouses obtained prior to marriage, however, will remain separate property after marriage unless the property is commingled with – or converted to – community property.

In addition to community property of assets, Arizona considers debts community property as well. Under state law, either spouse may bind the community property interest. Individual spouses cannot, however, purchase real property, provide a guaranty or warranty, or lease real property for a year or longer.

Legal Help in Arizona

If you or someone you know is seeking to spousal support in Arizona – or has questions relating to any other family law matter – contact the Law Office of Ronald L. Kossack. The firm’s skilled legal professionals have years of experience servicing families in Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Gilbert, Ahwatukee and surrounding areas of Arizona in all matters concerning family law. Mr. Kossack can guide you through the state’s legal system and answer questions you may have. Click here to schedule your initial consultation or call our office at 480.345.2652.