Baum v. Baum

  • Is a spouse entitled to reimbursement when they use separate funds to pay community obligations?

Facts and Procedural History

This case involves a lot of complicated financial transactions about corporate stock. However, this case is mainly cited for the proposition that a spouse is not entitled to reimbursement when they use separate funds to pay community obligations.

Wife challenged the trial court ruling because the court denied her request for reimbursement of separate funds used for community expenses. The court denied her request, finding that the use of the parties’ separate funds was not traceable.

Wife cited Ivancovich v. Ivancovich, which approved a trial court order reimbursing one party for the expenditure of separate funds on community obligations. 24 Ariz. 592, 540 P.2d 718 (1975).

Ruling

The court of appeals distinguished Ivancovich from the situation in Baum. In Ivancovich, the wife was forced to use her separate funds to pay community expenses because her husband, who had sufficient community property, refused to do so. In this case, both parties voluntarily used their separate funds to pay community expenses.

When the expenditure of separate funds toward community expenses is voluntary, a spouse is entitled to reimbursement only if there is an agreement to that effect. “To rule otherwise would be to require all married persons to keep detailed accounts of all the money they spent during the marriage and of all community expenses.”

Baum v. Baum, 120 Ariz. 140, 584 P.2d 604 (1978).

Link to Opinion