When you first got married, you never could have imagined that you and your spouse would be eager to break ties years later. The reality, though, is that it has happened. You are headed for divorce.
One of your biggest concerns as you embark on the divorce process is figuring out how to divide your property with your spouse. Here is a look at what property division involves in the state of Arizona.
What happens to the property you share with your spouse if you get divorced?
In Arizona, any property you have accumulated with your spouse during your marriage is community property. If you decide to divorce, you will probably have to split this property 50/50. This is true even if you were the one who played the biggest role in acquiring the assets.
Most other states, however, follow the principle of equitable distribution instead of the community property standard. With equitable distribution, a judge does not necessarily divide shared assets in half. Instead, the judge divides them in a manner that he or she feels is fair, which means one spouse may end up receiving 70% of marital assets, while the other party receives 30% if he or she played less of a role in acquiring them.
What is excluded from property division?
If you received items as an inheritance or gift during your marriage, you do not have to divide this asset 50/50 with your spouse during divorce. This is because the court considers this as separate property rather than community property. Likewise, if you acquire an asset after serving your divorce petition to your spouse, you do not have to split this with your spouse.
Furthermore, perhaps you acquired some real estate or another valuable personal item prior to walking down the aisle. In this situation, the judge will classify this property as separate property, so your spouse may not receive any portion of it.
Your options when it comes to dividing property during divorce
If you and your spouse can agree on how you will split your property, you can put together an agreement related to this. As a result, you can avoid further court intrusion. However, if you cannot find common ground in this area, you must allow a judge to divide your property for you. In either situation, it is wise to consult an attorney to make sure that you protect your rights long term.