The Sampair Group PLLC – Custom Content Page- Community Property Lawyers in Phoenix
Phoenix Community Property Attorneys Helping Clients in Family Law Cases
When a couple goes through a divorce, one of the critical decisions to be made is how to divide the community property or the assets and financial accounts that they held together before their legal separation. These must be divided equally, and family law attorneys are an important part of the procedure in making that happen. Dividing assets and debts are not as easy as it sounds, as it can be impossible to do so with exactness. Sometimes one spouse will end up with a higher amount of marital assets, and the other receives more of another kind of marital property in order to balance things out. During your divorce proceedings, you’ll want our talented and compassionate attorneys on your side to make sure you get your fair share during the property settlement. Contact our Phoenix office to make an appointment for your initial consultation today at 623-777-3909.
What is the Difference Between Community Property and Sole & Separate Property?
Arizona is a community property state. All property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be community property.
The courts thus consider all property acquired during marriage to be community in nature and subject to an equitable division. Equitable means “fair,” which can be 50/50, but there are often other “fair” ways to divide the assets (and liabilities). For example, one spouse may take more than half the assets, with an appropriate offset in liabilities.
Sole & Separate property is not subject to division under community property rules. Examples of sole & separate property include property owned by one party prior to the marriage or property one spouse received as a gift or through a will or inheritance and did not co-mingle with community property.
Some property that was once separate may become community property if it is considered to be co-mingled or gifted to the community. Co-mingling can occur, for example, by depositing separate property funds into the joint bank account or by placing the other spouse on to the title. When the marriage is dissolved, the court attempts to make an equitable, though not necessarily equal, division of the community assets while awarding each spouse their separate assets.
What Are Community and Sole & Separate Debts?
Generally, all debts acquired during the marriage are community debts, where both parties share the responsibility, regardless of whose name the debts are in.
Sole & separate debts would be those that were incurred before the marriage. Student loans are generally considered to be the debt of the student and not the couple. These types of loans or any other debt obtained before the marriage must be paid by the spouse in whose name it exists. If the spouse uses funds from the community property to pay such a debt, it is possible that the court could order reimbursement of the amount. In situations where one party abuses credit card debt or wastes community assets by running up debt, that party could be held liable for all of that debt.
Debts incurred can be debilitating to your financial stability, whether they are in your name or your spouse’s. Don’t leave this issue up to chance – hire capable attorneys who will make sure you are not held accountable for any debts that shouldn’t be your responsibility by contacting our legal team today.
How Are Retirement Benefits Divided?
Retirement plans are often some of the biggest investments people own. Because of this, the division of retirement benefits is often one of the major issues to settle during a divorce. In most cases in the state of Arizona, all retirement benefits, together with any gains or losses on the benefits earned during the marriage, are considered community property. And since Arizona is a community property state, this means that all community property, including retirement benefits, is to be divided equally between the two spouses during a divorce. This is assuming there was no prenuptial agreement stating otherwise because that could change the outcome of property division during a divorce.
Usually, though, the retirement benefits are divided between the parties, notwithstanding which party actually earned the benefit. This is because even when one spouse is employed during a marriage, the other spouse has made sacrifices in order for their husband or wife to work, such as caring for the home and children or even helping to get them through schooling to achieve a higher paying position. In general, under Arizona law, retirement benefits must be divided by a special order of the court called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This order is prepared by a pension attorney who specializes in such orders. IRAs are exempt, however. This process can be complicated considering the varying types of retirement plans that exist, as well as the nuances of the law in dividing community assets during divorce proceedings. You’ll benefit greatly by having someone like The Sampair Group to help you navigate the tricky aspects of community property in your divorce case.
Compassionate Legal Representation for Family Law Matters in Arizona
During your divorce, dividing the property is one of the most important decisions that will be made, as it can affect your future wellbeing as well as that of any children involved. You have put so much into your marriage, and you deserve to have your fair share returned to you now that the marriage is ending. These delicate family issues can create a trying time in your life and can be very difficult to handle, even without worrying about the legal aspects of your separation or divorce petition. Making sure your real property, business interests, retirement accounts, community debt, and all other assets and debts are divided equitably with your former spouse is an extremely important part of the divorce process. Be certain you are getting everything you deserve by using our services.
Our experienced divorce lawyers will meet with you to determine how to move forward with the community property and sole & separate property in your divorce. We want to help you get the best results possible in your case and make sure you get the best outcome in dividing the property after the dissolution of your marriage. Don’t delay in reaching out to your compassionate and competent legal team at 623-777-3909.