7 Ariz. L. Rev. 87 (1965-1966)
Liability of the Community for Alimony from a Prior Marriage

handle is hein.journals/arz7 and id is 93 raw text is: Comments

LIABILITY OF THE COMMUNITY FOR
ALIMONY FROM A PRIOR MARRIAGE
LEONARD I. MKRP
The obligations of marriage cannot be thrown aside like an old
coat when a more attractive style comes along.' With this language,
the Supreme Court of Arizona, in Gardner v. Gardner,2 held that al-
though the alimony award of a divorce decree which terminated a
prior marriage is not a contracted debt within the meaning of Section
25-216B of the Arizona Revised Statutes,3 which renders the community
property liable for community debts contracted by the husband during
marriage, nevertheless the community property of the second marriage
is liable, as a matter of public policy, for the alimony obligations.
The husband, in this case, was divorced from his first wife in
Nevada. A support order was entered which was later reduced to a
judgment in Nevada. Meanwhile, the husband remarried and estab-
lished his domicile in Arizona with his new wife. The first wife subse-
quently reduced the Nevada money judgment to an Arizona money
judgment and the husband counterclaimed for a declaratory judgment
exempting the community property of the second marriage from the
Arizona judgment. Both parties moved for summary judgment on the
counterclaim. The trial court entered judgment for the first wife and
was affirmed by the Supreme Court of Arizona which, when confronted
with the determination of the extent to which the first wife's judgment
for alimony was collectible out of the community property of the second
marriage, felt that as a matter of public policy the prior alimony obliga-
tion should reach all of the community property of the second marriage.
I. BACKGROUND OF Coxnm{uNrTY PROPERTY LAw IN ARIZONA
The community property law of Arizona is a creature of the legisla-
ture,4 influenced largely by the community property laws of Spain and
Mexico.5 As far back as the Fuero Real (Royal Code) of 1255 it was
provided that neither spouse should be liable for the antenuptial debts
of the other and that the community property should be liable only for
the debts contracted during the marriage for the community benefit.6
I Gardner v. Gardner, 95 Ariz. 202, 204, 388 P.2d 417, 418 (1964).
295 Ariz. 202, 388 P.2d 417 (1964).
3 uz. R v. STAT. ANN.  25-216B (1956) reads: The community property
of the husband and the wife is liable for the community debts contracted by the
husband during marriage unless specially excepted by law.
4Blackman v. Blackman, 45 Ariz. 374, 43 P.2d 1011 (1935).
5 Lyons, Development of Community Property Law in Arizona, 15 LA. L. Rv.
512 (1955).
6de Funiak, Review in Brief of Principles of Community Property, 32 Ky. L. J.
63 (1943).

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