Marriage may be a partnership. However, not all partnerships are created equal. During the course of the marriage, it is rare that each spouse will contribute 50 percent to the marital property. Chances are one spouse will have a higher income than the other.
If the marriage ends in a divorce after years of hard work, it is easy for one party to ask, “Will I get to keep everything I worked for?” In other words, how is marital property divided should the marriage end in a divorce?
Arizona property division law
Arizona is a community property state. This presumes that any property and debt acquired during the marriage belongs to both parties and is, thus, subject to equal division during the divorce. For instance, if the family took out a mortgage, then the home will belong to the family even when only one spouse serviced the mortgage. Thus, such marital property is subjected to 50-50 division during the divorce regardless of the duration of the marriage.
What about property that was acquired before marriage?
Any property and debt acquired before the marriage is considered personal property. Such property may not be subjected to division during the divorce. However, it is important that such property is protected by a prenup prior to the marriage.
What if you were living together but never married?
Not many couples choose this route. If you do, however, you may not have the same rights to property division when you break up. Unless you have a contract that clearly outlines joint ownership of the assets in question, you may only leave the relationship with the property you acquired or have proof of ownership of.
Asset division can be a very contentious, confusing and difficult subject during the divorce. Understanding how Arizona’s marital division of property laws work can help you avoid missteps and protect your interests while litigating property division.