As you embark on the path to divorce, you may understandably feel lost and fearful of what is to come. This is especially the case if you and your spouse have amassed a substantial amount of assets or high-value assets over the course of marriage.
However, the more you know about how property division works in Arizona, the more prepared you can be when it comes to dealing with informal negotiations or a divorce trial. Here is what you need to know about the distribution of property during a divorce proceeding in the Grand Canyon State.
Division of marital property
Arizona is deemed a community property state, so all marital property is referred to as community property in the state. It is just one of a handful of states that operate based on the community property principle, where any shared assets between two spouses are split 50/50 in a divorce.
The majority of other states instead operate based on the principle of equitable distribution. In these states, a judge will divide marital assets in a manner that he or she considers to be fair or equitable. Thus, courts have more discretion when it comes to determining what is fair.
What is not considered to be community property?
Perhaps you have received an inheritance or gift from your aunt. In this situation, you will not have to divide this asset with your spouse as it is separate property, not community property. Likewise, any asset that you owned before the marriage and that you kept separate from your spouse is not subject to property division in Arizona.
Your rights during the community property division process
The best scenario when it comes to property division is for you and the other party to come to an agreement on how you will divide your shared property. You can do this through negotiation or the mediation process. However, if you both cannot find common ground in this area, a judge will have to divide your property for you based on the community property principle.
In either scenario, hiring an attorney is wise, as your attorney will help you to pursue the best outcome possible given the circumstances surrounding your divorce. Your attorney’s chief goal is to protect your rights and best interests from start to finish.