Community property includes any assets, accounts and properties acquired jointly during a marriage in Arizona. When a couple decides to divorce, their community property generally divides equally in half between the two spouses. Millennial couples are maintaining separate bank accounts, as reported by CNBC, but it may not always prevent sharing half of it with a soon-to-be ex-spouse. 

Some individuals may believe that placing their income into a separate bank account prevents their ex-spouse from legally claiming half of it during a divorce. The law, however, views a separate account as part of a couple’s community property if an individual opened it while married. Having a signed prenuptial or postnuptial agreement between the two spouses may, however, allow the court to rule in favor of an exception. 

Classifying separate property with an agreement 

Oftentimes, individuals think that a prenuptial agreement is only enforceable if created before a marriage. While a prenup allows two individuals to determine ahead of time on the ownership of their separate property, couples may also create a postnuptial agreement after a marriage occurs. Much like a prenup, a postnup protects an individual’s ownership of his or her own assets, property and income. 

When a couple plans to keep their income separate from the community property, creating a postnup may help in carrying out their objectives. As long as both spouses agree that a bank account is one spouse’s separate property, a court will typically enforce a signed agreement. 

Separate property by default 

The Grand Canyon State’s marital laws classify some assets and property as an individual’s own separate property. These include gifts, inheritance and any assets or property that an individual purchases after initiating the divorce process. The funds used to make a purchase after a divorce may, however, possibly trace back to the community property that existed before the divorce proceedings. Under certain circumstances, the court may then decide to award an ex-spouse a share of the ownership.