Arizona is a community property state. Accordingly, assets and debts are split equally at divorce. Property that the parties accumulate during the course of the marriage (with limited exceptions) along with debt incurred is shared by the spouses equally.
Regardless of if one or both spouses work, the result is the same. In either case, whatever property and/or debt is acquired is community property. Community property may include homes, lots, or other real estate, cash, stocks, cars, notes and other financial instruments, and even an individuals rights to a profit-sharing or other retirement plan.
When a divorce case is filed, all of the community property must be divided so that it becomes the separate property of each spouse. The community debt is treated in the same fashion. An “equitable” division typically means each spouse is allowed half the community property and debts.
In most cases it does not matter who paid for the property, who obtained a loan, or who used the property most does not matter. The parties are free to agree upon the division of the assets and debts. If they are unable to do so, the court will make the determination and divide the property and debts. At DMMG, we work with you to identify community assets and debts and to advocate for equitable distribution.
Gifts and property that a spouse receives as the result of an inheritance generally are not community property. In addition, items that either spouse brought to the marriage are typically treated as separate property, not community property. Just because an item was once separate property, does not mean it always stays that way. In some cases, community property will be used to make continued payments on a separate asset. In such cases, what was once separate property, may be “commingled” with the community property and become part of the community. A house is a common example of this.
In much the same way, debt incurred while the parties are married, regardless of who incurred it, is typically considered community debt.
Call us at 480-353-2542 to discuss the equitable and fair division of assets and debts in your case.