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How does distribution of property work in AZ divorces?

Dividing property in a divorce settlement can be difficult, and people should understand Arizona policies regarding this topic.

When couples file for divorce in Arizona, they must negotiate the terms for the settlement. One of the most difficult topics to tackle may be that of property division. People develop emotional and financial ties to property and assets, and it can be hard to divide those items once couples decide to terminate their marriage. Arizona is an equal distribution state, meaning the judge presiding over the case may use his or her discretion to determine who gets what in the settlement.

Factors for determining division of property

Property and assets are divided according to what is deemed fair and can vary depending on the judge’s interpretation. These may include but are not limited to how long the marriage lasted, as well as who contributed the most during the marriage. It also accounts for spouses that supported the other spouse while they went to school or worked.

What is separate property?

Although community property is eligible for division in a divorce, separate property may stay with the original owner depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. Separate property often includes inheritance given to either party, property owned by either property prior to getting married, personal injury settlements awarded to either party and gifts given to either party during the course of the marriage.

Separate property may be eligible for division if it is mixed in with community property. For example, if one party has the title to a property prior to marriage and later changes it to include the other spouse’s name, the property may be considered community and then divided in the settlement.

A look at community property

Community property includes more than simply the family house, vehicles and savings account. Anything that was accumulated during the marriage may be divided. These items include the following:

  • Antique, comic book, automobile, coins, art and book collections.
  • Golf course and exclusive country club memberships.
  • Gifts given to one another during the marriage.
  • Lottery ticket winnings.
  • Intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrights and patents.

Any money loaned to a third party during the divorce then repaid after the divorce is finalized is still deemed community property and should be split.

Getting your life back on track

Going through a divorce can be extremely emotional and it can be hard to make important decisions during this hard time. An Arizona attorney may be helpful in reviewing the details of your case and helping you explore all potential routes of action.