Your grandmother’s precious locket. The land your father cultivated his entire life. Losing cherished property to your ex just because it has value is a common fear when a marriage ends. And in a contentious divorce, that fear is not entirely unfounded.
But the law might be on your side. If you’re asking yourself, “How is property divided in a divorce?” you’re not alone.
What’s yours? What’s your ex’s? What’s both of yours? Who gets to decide?
When it comes to divorce and splitting property, there are a lot of questions swirling through your mind. And a qualified attorney can help protect your assets.
But first, let’s answer a few of those questions.
What Property Can Be Divided in a Divorce
During a divorce, splitting assets is a complicated matter. In Arizona, there are two types of property to consider: community property and separate property.
Community or Marital Property
Community property includes almost anything that was acquired during the marriage by either partner. That includes both assets and debts. While it may depend on when they were acquired, community property in Arizona may include the following:
- Personal property (including furniture, pets, household appliances and technology)
- Motor vehicles (whether they’re cars, motorcycles, mobile homes, boats or trailers)
- Real estate
- Bank accounts (sometimes even if they’re only under one spouse’s name)
- Life insurance policies
- A family or mutual business
- Investments (such as stocks)
- Credit card debts
- Student loans
- Auto loans and home mortgages
However, the law recognizes that some of the above may not truly be community property. Having an attorney represent you will help ensure your marital property is fairly divided.
Separate property — that is, property only one spouse owns — will not be divided between spouses. Separate property includes:
- A gift
- Something that was clearly intended to be one spouse’s alone (such as most clothing)
- Anything inherited or bequeathed to that individual alone
- Any property purchased with money that is considered personal property (a spouse’s separate funds)
- Anything owned by one spouse before marriage
- Anything acquired after the petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment (assuming the petition does result in the dissolution of the marriage)
This includes the property’s income and appreciation. But it also includes the property’s debts.
Any personal property obtained during the marriage might still be community property. This is especially true for those age 50 and older who have commingled assets for multiple decades. That’s why it’s always important to hire a qualified divorce attorney to protect your assets.
How Is Property Divided in a Divorce?
While “How are assets divided in a divorce?” is among the most common questions any divorce attorney is asked, it’s important to remember debts are included too.
Agreeing that something the law would otherwise determine is your ex’s personal property only to find out it’s mired in debt can be financially devastating. But a qualified divorce attorney can protect you from that and shepherd you through the entire process from start to finish.
Divorce property division involves collecting all information about your assets and debts. Then, you’ll identify what property (and debt) is separate and what is community.
It’s possible your ex will disagree. When that happens, it’s up to the courts to decide how the divorce property division will work.
Contact Reppucci & Roeder Today!
Getting a divorce is hard enough without worrying you’ll lose everything. If “How is property divided in a divorce?” is the burning question on your mind, call Reppucci & Roeder today at 480-300-6012 for a free, no-obligation consultation.