Writing A Brighter Future

What happens to assets when you divorce?

On Behalf of | Sep 20, 2021 | Divorce

One of the big questions any divorcing couple has, is what happens to our property? Each state has laws governing how to divide assets when you end your marriage.

Arizona is a community property state. The law considers when you marry, you and your spouse become a community. Most of the things you acquire from the day you married forward, belong to the community, i.e., to both of you. When you divorce, you must split them on a 50:50 basis.

Not everything counts as community property

Some items do not belong to the community, so you do not need to split them. These include:

  • Anything you owned before marriage
  • Any income derived from assets you owned before marriage
  • Anything someone gifted you during the marriage
  • Anything protected by a prenuptial agreement

These exceptions are not always simple to define. For instance, the antique vase in the hallway. Was that a gift to you or both of you? The income you generate from renting out the flat you bought before marrying. If your spouse had not repaired and revamped it using their money, would it fetch so much rent?

To work out what is a 50:50 split of your community property, you need to list everything you own. Once you remove anything the law considers separate property, you need to tally up what remains. So if you have a house worth $2 million, artwork and furniture worth $500,000 and investments of $1million, your total to divide is $3.5 million. That gives you each $1.75 million, and how you work out who gets what will require negotiation.

There is a lot to understand when divorcing. Having help will make it easier to get the settlement you need and are entitled to.