The experience that you will have when going through a divorce will likely depend to a certain extent on the state in which you are divorcing. This is because state laws dictate many aspects of divorce, including how assets are divided. If you are going through a divorce in Arizona, it is, therefore, important that you observe the laws in place so that you are prepared for what to expect.
Arizona is one of the few states in the country that recognizes community property. This means that the state views all marital property as being equal, regardless of which spouse contributed most to the acquisition of funds. This means, as a general rule, all assets that are deemed to be marital in a divorce will be split between spouses 50/50. The following are common community property issues that can arise in Arizona.
Differentiating between marital property and separate property
Not all property in a divorce will be deemed to be marital property. This is because any assets acquired before the marriage will be considered to be separate property and will remain in the possession of the spouse who acquired it.
Many divorcing spouses become involved in disputes due to disagreements regarding what is and what is not considered to be a marital asset. These issues can become complex because funds can become so intertwined over the years of marriage. Typically, all wages earned by either spouse during the marriage will be considered marital assets, as well as interest income earned by business investments and operations, even if the business was purchased before the marriage took place.
What property can I keep as separate property?
If you have a separately held bank account, this will be considered to be separate property, not subject to division. Inheritances that you acquire when married will also remain solely yours. Additionally, gifts to either spouse will not be subject to division under community property law at divorce.
If you are considering divorce in Arizona, how marital and separate property is identified will have a huge impact on how your divorce is finalized. This is why it is wise to spend considerable time understanding the law before taking action.