When a couple decides to go their separate ways, the court divides their possessions between them. However, that does not necessarily mean that you and your spouse will end your marriage with an equal share of the property in your household. What should you know about property division?
The court will not necessarily divide all of your property.
You and your spouse jointly own most property you acquire during your marriage, even if only one person’s name is on the title for a specific asset. This includes your savings, possessions like your car or home, any retirement benefits earned during this time and any debts acquired during your marriage.
However, there are some exceptions to this. Property you owned before your marriage, gifts and inherited assets, for example, are separate property and will not be divided during the divorce process. If you have a prenuptial agreement in place, that agreement may also name you or your spouse as the sole owner of other assets.
Will the court divide your jointly-owned property equally?
Arizona courts work to divide community property “equitably” during a divorce. While this arrangement could be equal, equitable division does not necessarily mean that your property will be divided in half between you and your spouse. Rather, the court will determine what is most fair for each spouse. A wide variety of factors could influence the portion of property and debts you receive.
For example, in the interest of providing support to your children, you may keep a greater portion of your community assets if you have more parenting time than your spouse. You may also take on a greater portion of community debts in exchange for a greater portion of your jointly-owned property.
The way that you and your spouse divide your community property will depend on your finances and your wishes. You can create a legal strategy that supports your goals and reach a fair division of property based on your unique situation.