Arizona is a community property state, which means there is a presumption that any assets and belongings the couple obtains during marriage is a community asset, belonging to both of them. Community assets are divided in the divorce.
Items you each brought to the marriage or obtained by gift or inheritance while you were married are considered separate property. These assets are not divided in the divorce and remain with their original owner. If a separate asset is converted to a marital asset (by changing the deed on a home, for example) it then can be divided in the divorce. In addition, if the non-owner spouse contributes to the upkeep or improvement of a separate property asset (for example, by helping to renovate a separately owned home), the increase in value of the property can be divided in the divorce.
Community property is divided 50/50, but this doesn’t mean that each item is split in half. While it might make sense to divide things like cash or bank accounts in this way, asset division is done by looking at the bottom line. Every single asset is assigned a value (an appraiser may be needed to determine value of things such as houses or collections). Each spouse leaves the marriage with the same total value of items. One spouse might take the boat while the other takes the car or one might take the home and the other a vacation home, for example, to achieve this equality in value. It is possible to continue to own some assets jointly after the divorce. Many couples continue to jointly own a home that is under water (worth less than the mortgage amount) with plans to sell once the home has some equity.
Call the Sampair Group for assistance with your divorce and property division in the Mesa or Glendale areas of Arizona. Our attorneys are ready to represent you.