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How can I ensure a fair split of community property in Arizona?

On Behalf of | Dec 16, 2022 | Divorce |

Property division in an Arizona divorce is not a simple matter of splitting everything in half. There often obstacles and disagreements that complicate the case. From the beginning, it is important to understand the law and know how to make sure the division is fair.

Arizona law for dividing property

Arizona is one of eight states in the nation that uses community property to divide what the parties obtained while they were married. Theoretically, all property that is acquired in this way will be shared evenly as part of the divorce.

For example, if the couple bought a home – even if one party paid some or the entire down payment and mortgage – it will be shared because they acquired it after they were married. The only exceptions to this are if the property was acquired as an inheritance or a gift.

A person who inherits a sum of money after a relative died will get to keep that and does not need to share it with the spouse when they divorce. It is also separate property if it was acquired after the petition to legally separate, divorce or annul the marriage.

While this might seem like it clearly determines which property belongs to whom, there is still plenty of room for  disputes.

If one spouse purchased a home before the marriage but made significant improvements to it after they were married and both sides contributed to those improvements to increase its value, the other spouse could argue that it should be viewed as community property. This is just one example of the ways in which people can disagree.

Professional help for property division

Many marriages have accrued property that is of significant value like a marital home, automobiles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments and collectibles. Failure to have an accurate accounting of what is there, its value and how it will be divided in a fair manner could be inordinately costly.

For these cases, it is imperative to have experienced and compassionate guidance to help get through with a reasonable outcome that is based on the law. From the outset, it is wise to be fully prepared for every potential outcome.

Perhaps it is possible for the parties to negotiate an agreement about contested property and avoid the need to go to court. However, if it does need to go to court, it is crucial to have help with trial experience to address the lingering problems.

Getting a divorce can be a new start. Part of that is retaining the property each side is entitled to and maximizing what the sides purchased or obtained while they were married. In these cases, calling for advice from the beginning can help with being prepared. This should be done as soon as possible to have a good plan to get a positive result.