Family Law / Divorce
Going through a divorce is an especially trying and stressful time in a person’s life. Arizona is a “no fault” divorce state. This means that you don’t need a reason to get a divorce other than the fact that the marriage is “irretrievably broken”. The quickest that a divorce can be obtained in Arizona is 60 days from the date of service of the Petition and other documents on the other party. Arizona is a community property state. This means that all property and debt acquired during the marriage is divided equally. This seems simple enough. Most of the disagreements over the division of property and debt centers on the value of those items. Often times agreements can be reached on the values, but sometimes the assistance of appraisers or other professionals is required. It is important to address all property of the marriage. From retirement accounts to the minute personal property throughout the house. If the parties are not able to reach an agreement on division of personal property, the Court may order one of three things. 1) Sell all of the personal property at an estate sale and divide the proceeds. 2) Flip a coin and the winner chooses first. Then take turns picking items until they are all accounted for. Or 3) One party creates two lists comprising all the personal property. The other party then gets to choose which list he/she wants.
Debts are also divided equally regardless of which party incurred them. This is true even if the other party was not aware of the debts. This is true assuming that the debt was incurred for the benefit of the marriage. If a party can prove that the debt was incurred only for the benefit of one party or that party’s separate property, the debt will be allocated to that party. Debts related to property will generally go with the property. For example, if a loan was taken to purchase a vehicle, and one party wants to keep the vehicle in the divorce, that party will also be responsible for the debt related to the vehicle. If there is equity in the vehicle (it’s worth more than is owed on it) the party desiring to keep the vehicle must “buy out” the other party for their one-half interest in the equity in the vehicle.