One of the top concerns people have during a divorce is how their assets will be divided. Spouses can be angry and distrustful; many feel scared about what their financial situation will look like after divorce. As such, the division of assets can be one of the most difficult and contentious elements of an Arizona divorce.
To alleviate some of the concerns surrounding property division, it can be crucial to know the basics of how the process works. This can give people a better understanding of what they can expect in terms of their post-divorce financial situation.
Community property laws
Arizona is a community property state. This means that everything acquired during the marriage belongs to the community, or to both spouses equally. This includes assets and debts. Generally, each person is entitled to half of the marital property, though there are some exceptions.
In terms of how to divide property, some assets (like bank accounts) can be split down the middle with each person taking half. More often, though, division will involve appraising all the assets and debts and then assigning half of the net value to each person. In other words, not every asset will be physically divided.
Are all assets eligible for division?
Understand that there are two types of property: marital and separate. Marital property includes everything acquired during a marriage; separate property includes property owned by one person prior to the marriage and any individual gifts or inheritances. Separate property is typically not eligible for division.
Who decides how to divide property?
Parties who go through mediation or collaborative divorce will typically make their own decisions on how to divide property. In situations where parties cannot agree on how to divide property, or if the case is highly complex, the courts may need to make these decisions.
Of course, every case is different and there are exceptions that can change things, so it is crucial to discuss specific cases with an attorney. However, this basic information on the property division process in Arizona can help people get a better grasp on what to expect as they navigate their own divorce.