Distribution of Assets Upon Divorce in Arizona
Most of us have heard nightmares about how property is split up after a divorce. You may have friends who say they were taken to “the cleaners.” Others may complain that their spouse walked away with everything. The truth is that the courts divide marital assets fairly. That doesn’t mean they are split down the middle. Obviously, you wouldn’t expect to cut a painting in half. However, the courts do make sure that both parties walk away from the divorce with a fair share of the marital assets. Ideally, your Arizona divorce lawyer will work this out with your spouse’s lawyer, so it never goes before a judge.
When assets are divided in a divorce, it is done fairly. This is because Arizona is a community property state. Usually, you and your spouse will be divided evenly. It is the goal of both the court and your Arizona divorce lawyer that your assets are distributed between you and your spouse fairly. You can trust that your Arizona divorce lawyer isn’t going to agree to a marital settlement agreement that doesn’t provide you with an even share of your assets and debts.
Your Arizona Divorce Lawyer Will Draft a Marital Settlement Agreement
Very rarely does a judge sit down and decide who will get the marital property in a divorce. Typically, this is something your Arizona divorce lawyer will take care of. They will include a section in your marital settlement agreement that addresses division of property. In order to do this, your Arizona divorce lawyer needs a list of all of your assets. They’re also going to have to obtain the fair market value of each asset. They will compare this information with the list created by your spouse’s lawyer.
Between the two of them, your Arizona divorce lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer will try to work this out. They’ll go back and forth a few times and come up with a property division that seems fair. Your lawyer will then present you with this agreement. If you approve it, your attorney will let the opposition know and you and your spouse can both approve the agreement. If this isn’t possible, the judge will have you and your spouse go to mediation. Mediators are very good at coming up with solutions that work for everyone.
You Need to Split Both Personal and Real Property
As part of your divorce, your Arizona divorce lawyer will have to propose a division of all types of property. This includes both real property and personal property. Real property would include your house and any rental or vacation homes you and your spouse own together. Personal property would include almost everything else. Some of the things you’ll need to divide as part of your Arizona divorce include the following:
- Stereo equipment and electronics
Believe it or not, people tend to argue less about their real property than they do their personal property. It makes sense sometimes to sell the marital home. However, when it comes to things like family pictures, both spouses tend to fight over them. Arizona divorce lawyers may spend more time trying to work out a division of personal property than anything else.
Your Arizona Divorce Lawyer Will Protect Assets You Brought into the Marriage
There are certain things that will not be subject to division during the divorce. If you owned any property before getting married, you will take that property with you when you get divorced. The same is true for things like an inheritance you receive while married. If your parents or a rich uncle leaves you property while you’re married, that doesn’t automatically become your spouse’s property. For the most part, however, anything you receive or purchase while married will be considered marital property. Your Arizona divorce lawyer will have to look at all of your itemized assets and determine which ones are protected from division.
Do You Have to Sell the House?
Whether or not you have to sell your home depends on the facts of your case. If you have children, it may make sense for one of you to keep the house, so the children don’t have to change schools. However, if you have no children or your children are grown it’s a different story. You may want to sell the house and split the proceeds. Or if one of you want, you can buy the other spouse out of their interest in the property. Just ask your Arizona divorce lawyer what is best during your initial consultation.