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Who gets what? Property division in Arizona divorces

In what might be the largest divorce settlement ever across the pond, the wife of a British hedge fund manager is seeking a portion of the substantial assets she and her husband have accumulated. As a hedge fund manager, the husband oversees more than $4 billion, and together, the couple have donated over $1 billion through the charitable organization they founded in 2003. The wife is the CEO of the organization and places its value at up to $5 billion. The couple, who met while students at Harvard University, were in court last week to negotiate a settlement.

Arizona couples going through the divorce process may not have quite the net worth of this couple, but property division is still going to be a part of the process. All divorcing couples, regardless of the amount of assets involved, will be required to complete paperwork and make disclosures regarding property owned or acquired during the marriage. In Arizona and other community property states, the division is a bit different than in some states.

In community property states, assets acquired during the marriage are split either equally or equitably. Courts will use various factors to determine how to divide assets, such as each spouse's earning capacity, which parent is the legal caretaker of any children and the standard of living of both spouses during the marriage. One issue not considered in Arizona is which spouse caused the divorce. Arizona is a no-fault state, so any evidence of adultery, cruelty or the like will not be considered or heard by the court.

The property to be divided usually includes wages earned by each spouse while married, the marital home and furnishings bought during the marriage. Some items might be considered separate property and, therefore, are not subject to division. These items include money held in bank accounts before the marriage, salary earned after separation and possibly, any inheritance received by one spouse only. What might be considered community property and what could be separate property often depends on various factors. An Arizona attorney with experience providing divorce-related advice can provide assistance.

Source: Independent.co.uk, "Cooper-Hohn divorce: Wife of Britain's biggest philanthropist demands fair share of assets," Paul Gallagher, July 1, 2014

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