Dear Golden Girl,
Im afraid that the only true answer to your question is that the
spouse must ask the other to have the new spouses name added to the
title which is typically accomplished by the Owner spouse signing a
quitclaim deed from Owner Spouse conveying to Owner Spouse, and New
Spouse as (tenants in common, joint tenants with right of
survivorship, or such other tenancy as may be appropriate).
A quit claim deed can be prepared very cheaply by an attorney.
Although many people will claim to be able to prepare a quit-claim
deed, I would HIGHLY recommend that it be done by an attorney; there
are just enough nuances and little holes that if the deed is done
improperly or without considering all factors, it could lead to later
Now for a little theory. Arizona is a community property state.
General approach: The key tenet of community property (not separate
property) is that property acquired during the marriage (with
exceptions) belongs jointly to husband and wife from the moment it is
acquired. Thus upon divorce or death, the property is treated as
belonging half to each spouse.
All property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community
property (though this presumption may be rebutted by showing it falls
within one of the classes of "separate property" described below).
1. Before marriage: Property acquired by either spouse before marriage
is separate, not community, property. This property, therefore, is
not community property and is vested solely in the one-spouse owner,
unless title is transferred.
2. Gift or inheritance: Property acquired by gift, inheritance or
bequest, even after marriage, is separate property.
3. Earnings: Income produced by either spouses labor is community
property. (Example: H is an employee. His salary is community
property. Also, if he gets stock in his employer, pension rights, or
insurance as part of his job, these probably also are fruits of his
labor and therefore community property.)
C. Divorce: Generally, if divorce occurs, the community property is
D. Death: Upon the death of one of the parties, the community property
is treated as having belonged half to the deceased spouse and half to
the surviving spouse. A deceased spouses half is thus subject to his
right to devise it by will to whomever he wishes. (Example: H and W
hold Blackacre as community property. H dies, and his will gives
whatever interest he has to S, his son by a prior marriage. S and W
will hold the property as tenants in common, each with an undivided
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