When going through a divorce, the laws of the state you reside in are very important to pay attention to when dividing property. While most states follow equitable distribution laws, the state of Arizona is one of nine states that follow community property laws.
When a state follows community property law, it essentially means that property held up in the marriage is considered legally as joint property, irrespective of which spouse acquired it. In addition, other factors, such as the attribution of blame for the breakdown of the marriage, are not taken into account when dividing assets.
If you are going through a divorce in the state of Arizona, you may be facing issues due to community property law. If this is the case, it is important to understand the intricacies of the policies in place.
How is separate property defined and distributed?
The question of separate property has the potential to cause the most issues in divorces in community property states. It also presents opportunities for divorcing spouses to get a fairer deal as a result of the divorce. The law allows each spouse to keep property that was acquired before the date of the marriage.
For example, if you bought a house before the marriage that was acquired through your personal income, it is likely that you will be able to keep this house after the divorce. However, issues can arise if your spouse has been paying off the mortgage, and, therefore, he or she may be granted some equity in the property.
Do assets need to be sold in order to be split 50/50?
Although the law in Arizona requires that each spouse gets an equal share of the assets of the marriage, it is important to note that this should not be interpreted as an equal share of each individual asset. Instead, judges are likely to allow one spouse to keep the house, while granting the other spouse assets of an equal value. Therefore, there is still everything to fight for in establishing which assets you will be given.
If you are struggling with community property laws in Arizona, it is important to take early action so that you can be successful.