Arizona is a community property state, which means that all property acquired during the period of the marriage is presumed to be community and will be equitably divided upon dissolution of marriage. See A.R.S. § 25-318. Under Arizona law, this means that in most cases the property will be divided equally. There are exceptions to this general standard, which should be discussed with a knowledgeable attorney, such as:
- Waste of assets
- Separate property liens
- Reimbursement claims
- Business liens
- Separate property expenditures
Although Arizona is a community property state, this does not mean that separate property holders have less right than the community. In fact, Arizona has specific statutory authority, A.R.S. § 25-213, that delineates the rights of separate property holders. The area of separate property, however, is extremely complicated when it comes to business, reimbursement and commingling of assets. Our attorney can help guide you through this complicated area to protect your rights when it comes to these claims.
To learn how your property will be divided, contact our family law attorneys so that they can guide you through the process.
Property Division Frequently Asked Questions
What is property division?
Arizona is a community property state, and all property that a couple acquires during marriage belongs to both the husband and wife. Property includes real property, such as real estate, and other property, such as debt or income.
When a couple divorces, they must divide their property. Property division is the legal process of splitting up a couple’s community property.
What is not community property?
Property owned by one spouse prior to marriage is not considered community property. The spouse who owned the property before marriage retains sole ownership after marriage.
Income derived from separate property remains separate, along with any additional assets purchased with that income, even if the additional assets were acquired during the marriage. 1
Determining whether property is considered community property or separate property can become complicated because couples often comingle assets during marriage. We can help you sort through your case’s particulars.
How is property divided under Arizona law during divorce?
Arizona family law stipulates that community property should be divided equally during divorce. State law prevents the courts from considering marital misconduct when deciding what property each spouse receives. However, the courts do consider mitigating circumstances.
One exception to the general standard of community property is waste of assets. This means that one spouse recklessly squandered assets, through gambling, for instance, or attempted to hide them. That person could be penalized during property division, and the court could award additional property to the non-offending spouse.
Another exception is a separate property lien, which occurs when one spouse owes the other money for child support, spousal maintenance or other debt. The court may impose a lien on the separate property of the spouse responsible for payment.
A third exception, reimbursement claims, occurs when community property was used to benefit one spouse’s separate property. The other spouse may request reimbursement from community property.
Business liens, a fourth exception, occur when a business owned separately by one spouse increased in value during the marriage. Although the business remains separate property, the profit could be community property. In that case, the contributions made by the non-owner spouse would be valued, and a lien placed on the business for compensation. 2
Gifts, a fifth exception, to one spouse are also not considered community property, and are not subject to division.
The last exception, separate property expenditures, allows a spouse who used separate property to benefit community property the ability to seek reimbursement.
What are your rights during a divorce/dissolution of a marriage?
In most cases, you have the right to half of all community property. A Rose Law Group pc Family Lawyer can advise you on the best way to proceed in your specific case.
How can an Arizona family law attorney help?
A divorce attorney can guide you through property division court proceedings, helping you work with the court to determine what property belongs to you.
The division of assets and debt is of critical importance to many divorcing couples. Contact Rose Law Group pc today to speak with our experienced family law attorney about your case to help you arrive at the best possible outcome.
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