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Know how community and separate property differ in a divorce

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2024 | Divorce

Arizona is one of a small number of states that uses the community property model when a married couple gets divorced. That means that property and debt that was accrued after the couple was married is considered to be jointly owned.

That differs from most states that use an equitable distribution model where marital property is split in a way that the court believes is fair. For these issues and recognizing the difference between community and separate property, it is essential to have an idea about the law and be fully prepared.

Understand the law for dividing property as part of a divorce

State law says that community property will be shared between the parties in the divorce settlement. Those who acquired a marital home, automobiles, made investments, accrued money or purchased collectibles are expected to split them when they divorce. This is important for items that could be of significant value like real estate. There are, however, exceptions to the community property rule.

If a person receives property as part of another person’s will, then they do not have to share this with the spouse. In addition, the property that was acquired after the marriage and after the couple has filed the petition to part ways does not have to be split.

Despite the law being clear regarding how property is to be divided, disputes can be inevitable when there is property that is financially valuable or has sentimental value to a person. These cases can involve couples who are trying to maximize what they get after the case is completed, so it can be a challenge to reach a settlement in a smooth manner.

Some people can negotiate and exchange one property for another so each side is satisfied. If there are disagreements about value and contribution – such as a person who put more work into the home than the other or a person who built a business – it could be the catalyst for rampant disagreement.

Family law cases require compassionate guidance

Even though other issues like child custody, parenting time and alimony are bound to come to the forefront in a divorce, people must not forget about property and debt and how it will be divided. This can have a dramatic impact on the future, so it is critical to have a grasp of how this works from the beginning.

If there is room to negotiate in an evenhanded manner, this is something to explore to avoid a drawn-out court case. When people cannot agree, knowing how to reach what is believes to be an equitable outcome is key. Having compassionate and experienced guidance can ease the anxiety that accompanies a family law case and be beneficial in achieving a positive resolution.