What Are Arizona’s Community Property Laws?

One important factor in most divorces is how to divide the property between the individuals. Most of the time, the court prefers for couples to decide for themselves how to divide the property. However, if they cannot come to an agreement, the court will issue an order on marital property division.

Unlike many other states, Arizona does adhere to equitable distribution laws. While judges in Arizona attempt to divide marital property fairly and as equitably as possible, the division will not necessarily be exactly equal. Additionally, couples where each spouse owns properties or businesses individually may not be required to divide these assets.

If you have questions about how to handle the property division in your Arizona divorce, you don’t need to feel confused or alone. You can get personal advice based on years of experience from the divorce lawyers at The Dodds Law Firm, PLC.

What is Considered Separate Property in Arizona?

When deciding how to divide the marital estate, it is essential to understand which assets are communal property and which belong separately to each divorcing spouse. Arizona statute 25-211 states, “All property acquired by either husband or wife during the marriage is the community property of the husband and wife except for property acquired by gift, devise, or descent.”

For example, a marital home would usually be considered the property of both individuals together, while a company owned by one spouse before the marriage might remain in the possession of that spouse. Understanding how these laws affect your unique situation is critical during a divorce. Contact our legal team today for help determining what is community or separate property in your circumstances.

Communal Property

Communal property is usually made up of jointly owned items, including the marital home, cars, and bank accounts with both individuals’ names. Other assets and debts acquired during the marriage would also be considered communal property. In Arizona, these items should be divided as equally as possible, although some situations could merit an unequal division.

Separate Property

Divorcing couples should understand that not all property is divisible during the divorce. Several qualifications could qualify an asset as separate property, meaning it would not be shared between both spouses. One example is items and money gained through an inheritance that has not been intermingled with family funds. Property and assets owned before the marriage took place may also be considered separate and would not be shared between spouses.

Inherited Money

According to Arizona law, property “acquired by gift, devise, or descent” is not considered communal property and is not required to be divided between the divorcing spouses. This includes funds and assets passed on to one spouse in a will, trust, or other legal document.

Individual’s Property Owned Before the Marriage

Many people overlook the fact that some assets, such as real estate and businesses, may not be divided in a divorce because they were owned by one spouse before the marriage. However, when both spouses work for the growth in value of the item, the other spouse may be able to claim a portion of its value during the estate division process. During these complicated decisions, it is essential to have a knowledgeable attorney protecting your interests. Call our skilled legal team today to learn how we can help.

How Are Decisions Made Regarding Marital Property in Arizona Divorces?

Arizona courts prefer that couples make their own decisions regarding marital property division in a divorce. Not only does this save the couple time and money as they avoid needing a court ruling, but most individuals who come to an agreement with their ex-spouse experience greater satisfaction in years to come.

However, reaching an agreement with your spouse is sometimes impossible. The couple may need to bring the case before a judge in these cases. Court orders are final and legally binding but require going through the expensive and time-consuming court process. Contact our law firm immediately for help reaching a settlement without the courts.

Settlement Agreements

Settling with your spouse without the court may seem tricky, but it is not impossible. Your lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and can navigate making important decisions through mediation. They can work with your spouse’s lawyer to find a favorable conclusion, sometimes without you having to be in the same room with your spouse. Call now to start working with our compassionate, experienced team of divorce lawyers.

Court Orders

If mediation and attempts to reach a settlement fail, a judge can make a decision on your behalf when it comes to dividing the marital estate. They will review the assets and debts you and your spouse share and will try to be as fair as possible in equitably dividing the communal property. You should hire a skilled lawyer to ensure you get the results you need.

Can Our Divorce Lawyers Help You?

At The Dodds Law Firm, PLC, we have helped countless couples navigate the complex procedures of marital division and other crucial issues during divorce. We will gather appropriate evidence that proves your rights regarding the assets you share with your spouse. We will also defend your property rights regarding items you own separately, which should not be divided during the divorce.

You deserve legal advice and representation you can count on during this challenging time. You can rely on our dedicated service as we protect your property rights during your divorce. Call 623-267-0026 right away to schedule a consultation where you can discuss your unique circumstances with our caring, capable legal team.