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Marital Property Division

One of the most contentions parts of a divorce is the division of assets and property acquired throughout the marriage. Whether you have a simple estate or a large estate, it is important to get a just and equitable division of all the marital property. Things like investments, pension plans, real estate, houses, and cars are part of the marital estate. Most people do not have a clear idea on how to protect these assets or receive their fair share of the assets. A qualified Arizona family law attorney can help you find out the best way to divide your assets.

Scottsdale Marital Property Division Lawyer

Doug Daly has assisted many people by making sure they received a fair part of the marital estate. The Daly Law Firm represents clients throughout the greater Scottsdale and Phoenix area of Southern Arizona. If you are going through a divorce and are concerned about how to divide up your estate, contact the Daly Law Firm. Doug Daly can help you with the following marital property division matters:

When it comes to marital property division during a divorce case, it is important to have an attorney on your side who is familiar with handling each and every detail to ensure your interests are protected and the divorce is resolved without the risk of future property disputes.

Marital Property Information Center

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What is Separate Property?

Separate property or non-marital property is defined as the property that each spouse owned while they were single. For the property to remain separate property after the marriage, the spouse must keep the property or assets in his or her name. Once the spouse adds the assets or property to the marital property it is considered commingled and loses the status of separate property.

Under Arizona Law non-marital or separate property is defined under §25-213 as:

  • Property acquired after a spouse formally files for divorce or legal separation
  • Property owned before the marriage
  • Property acquired by gift, devise or descent which means inheritance

For example, if a woman has $500 in her bank account and a man has $500 in his bank account. They meet and decide to get married. They decide to open up a joint bank account. The woman puts $400 into the joint bank account and the man puts $200 into the joint bank account. Now the woman has $100 separate property and the man has $300 separate property and the marital property is $600 marital property.

Over the years though property gets commingled and it is very difficult to trace the origins of the money. If this couple decides to buy a TV for the living room for $300 and the husband decides to use the money in his separate property bank account, what kind of property is the TV? You could argue it is marital property because it was purchased for the benefit of the married couple or you could argue it is the husband’s TV because he bought it with his own money. A good rule of thumb is the clearly define property that you want to keep separate.

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What is Community Property?

Community property or marital property is defined as the property and assets acquired during the marriage. Arizona is a community property state which means that when spouses get divorced in Arizona, each spouse is entitled to half of the assets acquired during the marriage.

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How do the courts typically divide assets in Arizona?

It is important to seek an experienced Arizona family attorney to help you with your asset divisions during divorce. Typically a court would divide assets either 50/50 or in a manner that would give the most just and equitable division under Arizona Revised Statute §25-318(A). Some of the most common assets and probable divisions are listed below:

  • Cash: Usually bank accounts are divided equally among the spouses unless a spouse can clearly show that the money is separate property and not commingled with marital property.
  • Retirement Plans: Usually the money put into the retirement plan during the marriage is divided equally. So if you were working for 10 years, but in those ten years you were married for 3 years and got divorced, the 3 years worth of your retirement will be divided equally. You really need to get with an experienced family law attorney to determine how to divide up retirement plans because the math gets very complicated even for a simple retirement plan.
  • Vehicles: Usually cars are sold and the money is divided or the court can order that one spouse gets the car.
  • Estates: Either one spouse can get the house or the court may order the house sold and the proceeds divided equally.

It is essential to hire a lawyer if you have high value assets such as businesses, stocks and securities, real estates, and assets overseas to name a few. Every situation is different of course so it is important to tell the court about all your finances so the judge can make a fair decision concerning the marital property division.

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What happens to our marriage debts after divorce?

Debts acquired during marriage are also community property so the debt is generally split 50/50. It is necessary to include debts when you are looking at marital property. Even if one spouse is main one who ran up the debt, it is still debt belonging to the marriage and both spouses are responsible. It is important to hire good legal counsel to see if the spouses can come to an agreement on how to separate the debt. It is possible to come to an agreement and tell the judge to enter an order reflecting the terms of the agreement.

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What do I do if my spouse is hiding assets?

It is common for spouses to hide assets if a divorce is on the horizon. It is illegal and considered a fraud on the marital estate to hide assets because the court cannot equally divide the marital estate if a spouse has stolen from the estate. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets hire a lawyer and an accountant to go through your property and assets. Spouses commonly hide assets in the following areas:

  • Secondary Bank Accounts
  • “Gifts” to Friends and Family
  • Artwork and Antiques
  • Hobby Items and Collectibles

Make sure that you get antiques and collectibles appraised because their value may change over time. Make sure you look at tax returns and paycheck stubs. In addition to a lawyer and accountant, maybe hire a private investigator. Check with legal counsel to determine the best strategy to uncover hidden assets.

Daly Law Firm, PLLC - Scottsdale Division of Property Attorney

Doug Daly has the knowledge and experience to help you divide your marital assets. If you are going through a divorce in the Phoenix area, let me help you protect your assets. Call the Daly Law Firm at (480) 607-8308 for a free consultation.

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