Arizona is a community property state, which means that all property and debts acquired during marriage belong to both spouses. When couples file for divorce in a community property state, each spouse is entitled to half of all community property. By contrast, many other states operate under the principle of equitable distribution, which means that marital assets should be split fairly but not necessarily 50-50.
Regardless of the state laws governing the property of spouses, divorce can become extremely complicated when the couple owns many assets. For example, one high-asset divorce filed in New York has been pending for over one year, as the husband and wife continue to fight over an art collection worth millions of dollars. Other things at issue in the divorce are business secrets and expensive real estate.
The husband, whose family made a name for itself in the art collection industry, has been accused by his estranged wife of hiding marital assets in offshore accounts and absconding with $200 million of artwork that was in their marital home. Another complicating factor is whether some of the artwork in question was part of the man’s business or whether it was for the couple’s personal use. If the artwork was part of the business, a judge will need to determine whether the wife contributed to the business and has any entitlement to a portion of those assets.
In high-asset divorces such as this one, it is generally a good idea to hire an appraiser to estimate the value of the couple’s property, which could be anything from artwork to a wine collection. A family law attorney may help determine what type of assistance individuals need when going through a divorce.