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Dividing property during the divorce process in Arizona

When divorcing, couples often think about the property division aspect, wondering who will get what? Usually, those divorcing want to ensure they are able to keep a home, a car, maybe some furniture. But, some cases can be more complicated. For example, a separated couple are wondering about much more. The two lobbyists are contesting the right of the other to control over 1,300 pieces of artwork and debating the image the two cultivated as a power couple.

She is asking the court to appoint a trustee to oversee the art collection while a determination is made over whether some pieces can be loaned. He argues that his image and brand were cultivated well before he met her, an important detail when dividing business assets. And as they own homes multiple homes, discussions regarding residential property division will ensue.

Most divorces don't include assets such as valuable artwork or homes abroad. But regardless of what property a couple owns or how complex the property division may be, the property division laws of the state determine who will get what. In community property states such as Arizona, all martial property is usually defined as one of two types -- community, gained during the marriage or separate, gained before or outside of the marriage. Community property is usually divided equally between the couple and separate property retained by its owner.

Of course, what was gained during the marriage is not always clear cut, especially if it concerns money earned or spent by one person. When large amounts of property are at stake, such as a vast art collection, it may be necessary to determine if each specific item is community property or separate property.

When the couple has worked together professionally, it is usually necessary to also determine what parts of the business are attributable to each person. Defining which property items belong to who can be difficult.

Source: Politico, "Heather and Tony Podesta divorce documents released," Tal Kopan and Lucy McCalmont, April 11, 2014

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