Arizona is a community property state, which means that a judge will divide all marital property exactly in half. However, there are other options.
For many couples in Arizona, going through a divorce can be an emotional process. Not only is it hard to adjust to life without a significant other, it can be difficult dividing up marital property that has been accumulated during the marriage. Marital items often hold sentimental and financial value, causing some couples to argue over who gets what in the divorce settlement. Under Arizona law, however, all martial property is subject to community property distribution.
Arizona is one of nine community property states in the nation, according to the Huffington Post. In community property states, the judge takes all marital property and divides it equally in half, regardless of the specific circumstances of the parties involved, such as age, health or employment. Each party is considered an equal contributor to the marriage, and is therefore granted a 50 percent stake of the property and assets divided during the divorce.
Marital property can include homes, retirement plans, businesses, rental property, deferred compensation, 401K plans, stock options, bonuses, life insurance policies, professional practices and tax refunds. It also includes any debt owed by either party. Unless another agreement is outlined in the divorce settlement, all debt is split in half as well.
Under the community property statute defined by Arizona legislature, all property acquired during the marriage is considered community property. However, there may be separate property involved as well. This includes:
•· Property that is given to either party as a gift.
•· Inheritance received by either party before or after the marriage.
•· Property acquired after a dissolution of marriage, annulment or legal separation petition is filed.
•· Property obtained prior to the marriage.
Keep in mind that separate property may no longer be considered separate if the owner combines it with marital property. For example, inheritance money that is put into a joint bank account or separate property that is retitled to include the spouse’s name may be considered marital property.
Couples who wish to separate their marital property without assistance from the court system may choose to negotiate the details of their divorce settlement through mediation or collaborative divorce, according to the American Bar Association. These alternatives to the traditional division of property method allow couples to divide property and assets as they wish, disregarding the 50/50 split of the community property model.
People who are entering the divorce process may need help determining which route of property distribution is right for their specific situation. A knowledgeable Arizona attorney can provide essential legal counsel and help you discover all of your legal options.
Keywords: Arizona, community property