Whether you handle your own property division or a court handles it for you, you will need to consider and understand three required provisions:
- Determining whether property is marital or separate
- Coming to an agreed-upon value for the property
- Deciding upon a fair division of the property
Marital or Separate Property
Arizona considers all debts and property accumulated during the marriage to be community property, so this is often fairly straightforward; however, it can become complicated, making it important to speak with an experienced attorney. In the event that spouses can’t make a decision regarding what belongs to whom, the court will have to intervene and decide whether commingled property was a gift to the marriage or whether the original owner should be reimbursed in whole or in part.
Agreed-Upon Property Value
Generally, either the spouses or the court will assign monetary value to each item of property, and there are a variety of ways in which this can be determined. For example, an appraisal can help with real property, while a CPA or another financial professional may be required to assist in the valuation of more complicated issues, such as retirement assets.
Fair Division of Property
There are a number of ways to go about the division of property during a divorce. For example, assets can be divided assigning certain items to each spouse, by allowing one spouse to “buy out” the other’s share of an asset, or by selling assets and dividing the proceeds. Even after a divorce, the couple can choose to hold property together; however, this may be an unpopular choice since it would require an ongoing relationship between former spouses.
In any case, all debt accrued during the marriage must be assigned to one of the spouses in the event of a divorce – including mortgages, car loans and credit card debts. This is because creditors may continue to try and collect a community debt from either spouse if the debt is divided, as the couple’s separation agreement or divorce order is not binding on creditors. If a debt is assigned to one spouse, the other can ask the court to put a lien on that spouse’s separate property to insure payment of the debt owed. The most sensible and simple approach is for the couple to try to pay off all the marital debts when the divorce is finalized.
These steps are just a few of the important considerations for a divorce in Arizona. Remember that Simon Law Group’s experienced Tempe family attorneys are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions – just call 480-745-2450.]]>