Out-of-court divorce settlements and property division are becoming the chosen method for many divorcing couples. If you are under the impression that you do not need an attorney when you choose to negotiate your divorce, you might want to give that idea some thought. Navigating the process may be significantly less stressful if you have an experienced attorney on your side to provide support and guidance along with valuable input that could substantially benefit your future.
What qualifies as community property during the division of assets?
You may already know that Arizona is a community property state, but do you know how that fact will affect the division of your property? The following may present you with a better understanding of this:
- Everything you and your spouse acquired while you were married — including all debts – qualifies as community property that will be subject to division.
- Gifts and inheritances are not community property, except for those that were commingled with any of the marital assets.
- The incomes you and your spouse earned during the marriage along with everything purchased with those earnings qualifies as community property.
- All other property that the two of you owned before the wedding is considered separate property and, thus, not divisible.
- You will need to prepare a statement of your net worth, showing all assets and debts, in order to have a complete listing of all marital and separate property.
A knowledgeable attorney can thoroughly examine all of the financial aspects of your potential divorce settlement to ensure that you are set to receive your fair share of all assets to which you are rightfully entitled.
Who will keep the family residence?
One or both of you might be emotional when considering what to do about the home. That is understandable, but emotions may cloud your judgment. Here are some aspects to bear in mind:
- If the current mortgage was obtained based on the salaries of you and your spouse, it might be difficult to qualify for refinancing on only one salary.
- You may need to evaluate all of the expenses you will incur for staying in your home versus the costs of relocating and renting elsewhere.
- If the expenses related to the home is unaffordable for both, the most logical step may be to sell the property and share any funds yielded after mortgages and liens are settled.
- If one of you can afford to keep the residence, the other individual must receive half the value as payment for his or her share — or other assets equal to that value.
- If you have children, you may follow the example of some others who keep the family residence and continue to share the costs. The custodial parent and the kids then live in the house until the youngest one graduates. At that time, they then sell the house and share the profits.
The above is but two of the many hurdles you may encounter while navigating an out-of-court settlement. If you come up against issues that cause contention, an experienced divorce attorney can assist in negotiations or play the role of your legal counselor during divorce mediation sessions. While ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the entire process, your attorney can also verify the legality of your settlement agreement to minimize the risks of facing any future litigation.