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How is property divided in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Nov 1, 2021 | Divorce

When couples go through a divorce in Arizona, it can be a very difficult time in their lives. Through the divorce process couples need to separate the life that they built and shared together during the marriage. This involves determining child custody and parenting time for their children. It also involves determining child support for handling finances for their children. Couples will also have to divide their property.

Couples may have bought homes together, have bank accounts, retirement accounts, investment accounts, stocks, vehicles, collectables, furniture, household goods and other types of property. The property that the couple owns at the time of the divorce is divided into two different categories though.

Marital property vs. separate property

There is marital property which is most property that the couple purchased or acquired during the marriage. It does not matter which spouse’s name is on the title or on the account. If either spouse acquired property during the marriage, it may be considered marital.

The other type of property is considered separate property. This is property that one spouse owned prior to the marriage and any money derived from the property owned prior to the marriage. Inheritances, gifts and bequests given to one spouse during the marriage are also considered separate property.

Dividing marital property

During the divorce the couple will need to divide only the marital property. Each spouse will keep their own separate property after the divorce, however, determining what is separate property can sometimes be complicated. Arizona is a community property state, which means that each spouse has an equal right to all marital property so the marital property will generally be divided equally.

Property division in an Arizona divorce through can be a complicated process. First couples need to determine all of their property and debts. Then they need to value all of the property, which is not easy for all types of property. They will also need to determine which property is separate and then finally they can divide the marital property. Experienced attorneys understand this complicated process and may be able to help guide one it.