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Divorces increase in AZ and elsewhere as economy improves

Understanding the divorce and property division processes can help achieve as smooth a divorce process as possible.

While divorce may not be something that society usually regards with positivity, as the economy has shown signs of improvement, the number of divorces has recently increased. The number of divorces in the U.S. increased for the third year in a row in 2012 after those numbers plunged during the recession. In Arizona, divorce rates increased in 2011 to above 2008 levels. According to one expert, 150,000 divorces were postponed or avoided from 2009 or 2011. During difficult times, major life decisions, such as divorce, may be placed on hold.

The increase in divorces is impacting the economy by causing more women to enter the work force and creating new households. A one percentage point increase in the unemployment rate is associated with a 1.7 percent drop in the divorce rate. As the economy and unemployment improves, the divorce rate tends to increase. Divorce often creates the need for two households when there was only one prior to the divorce.

Necessarily, divorce, and the separation of one household into two separate households, creates the need for property division. When able to agree, couples are able to reach property division agreements between the divorcing spouses. In Arizona, when couples are unable to agree, the court will decide based on the system of community property. Community property calls for the equitable division of marital property. Property obtained during the marriage is considered marital property to be divided equally but there are other types of property that will also be considered.

While divorce can sometimes be a difficult process, property division allows the parties to move forward with separate lives following the divorce. A trained family law attorney can help guide a divorcing spouse through the process of property division to ensure, as much as possible, the outcome the party is seeking for the divorce and property division process.

Source: Arizona Daily Star, "As economy improves, divorces rise," Steve Matthews, Feb. 24, 2014

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