Arizona residents may sometimes find it difficult to avoid salacious stories about divorcing celebrities. Accounts of infidelity or abuse may be the most reliable way for the writers of these articles to pique public interest, but legal battles over property division and child custody are also a reliable way to sell newspapers and boost television ratings. These accounts often include a legal perspective provided by family law attorneys or other experts, but this does not necessarily mean that what is said will apply in all parts of the country.
While family law judges across the country make child custody decisions based upon the interests of the children involved, disputes over property division will depend upon the laws of the state. Arizona is a community property states, and marital assets must be divided equally. Other states, which are known as equitable distribution states, only require that the division be fair. This means that a story about a divorce taking place in New York or Florida may contain legal observations that would not apply if the couple involved lived in Arizona or California.
Media reports of celebrity divorces may also contain inaccuracies about what is and what is not marital property. Stories about Bethenny Frankel’s divorce revealed that the reality TV star would lose her claim to a Manhattan apartment if she moved out, but the law determines the provenance of marital assets based upon the date they were obtained and not who is in possession of them.
Family law attorneys in community property states like Arizona may recommend prenuptial agreements as a way for couples to avoid the suspicions and insecurities that can undermine even the strongest relationships. Attorneys may also suggest that divorcing couples consider mediation to resolve their disputes.