Handling Complex Property Division Determinations in Arizona
Married couples often bring a lot into marriage and often acquire many possessions, assets, and debts during a marriage. An important part of the divorce process is determining how spouses will divide all of this property and debt. In some cases, spouses can agree on how to divide everything, and the court simply has to review the agreement and approve it. If spouses cannot agree, the court must make the decision for them, which can be lengthier, costly, and an adversarial process.
Whether you and your spouse have a high net worth or have more debts than assets, contact Burggraff Tash Levy today. There are three primary steps in property and debt division in Arizona:
- Determining what is separate property and what is community property and debt;
- Determining the value of the community property and debt;
- Deciding how to divide the community property and debt.
Separate Property vs. Community Property
Arizona is a community property state, and the law presumes that all property and debt accumulated during a marriage is community property. On the other hand, property or debts each spouse had prior to the marriage is presumed to be separate property. However, there are exceptions.
For example, depending on how the property was obtained during the marriage can create separate property while, on the other hand, separate property treated inappropriately during the marriage can be subject to community division. Additionally, some property can be a combination of community and separate property, such as retirement accounts. The law categorizes debts as community or separate, as well.
Determining whether property and debts should be divided or not is a complicated matter, and our divorce lawyers can ensure your property is categorized correctly.
With the help of a skilled attorney, you can calculate the total value of your community property and debts. We use appraisals, financial experts, and other resources when needed to determine the accurate value of assets and property. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the value, the court may have to do so for you.
Division of Community Property
Arizona law requires an equitable division of community property. This does not necessarily mean that you cut all your furniture in half or must divide each debt down the middle. Instead, you and your spouse can decide to divide property in a way that provides an approximately equal share, considering the total value of property and/or debts.
For example, parties could reach agreements where one spouse gets the house and the other gets the retirement accounts. There are many options when it comes to the division of property and debts, and our attorneys take a creative approach that suits your specific situation.