Division of Assets and Debts

Arizona is a community property state, which means everything done during the marriage was presumably done for the benefit of both parties. Note, however, each spouse may have separate property assets that do not get divided in a dissolution case.

The division of assets and debts is supposed to be an equitable division, in that both parties are supposed to receive an approximately equal share of the community assets. This does not mean that each party receives one-half of the value of each asset. Rather, the total value of all the assets each receives should be approximately equal.

In dividing up assets and debts or liabilities, the parties must make sure they are dividing all community property assets. This includes real property, such as houses, investment properties, commercial properties and land. It also includes furniture, furnishings, bank accounts, investment accounts, vehicles, boats, businesses, pets, essentially anything that is not real property.

Reasonable values must be assigned to community property to ensure an equitable division. Some values are easier to determine than others. I would be happy to discuss with you the options for determining the value of assets. Valuing a business requires special considerations. A formal business valuation may be necessary.

Debts also must be divided. Simply because a debt is only in one person’s name does not necessarily mean that the other spouse is not potentially liable for that debt.

Knowing the current values of all assets including banking, investment and retirement accounts is very important. Thorough knowledge of assets and liabilities will help a person prepare for a dissolution of marriage (divorce) and is vital for reaching an agreement. A current credit report on yourself can also be very helpful.

You may not be comfortable discussing your personal financial situation. However, in a dissolution case, openness and a frank discussion of the community assets and liabilities is vital to your case. You should chose an attorney with whom you feel comfortable discussing your financial details, and of course, any discussions are protected by the attorney-client privilege. Please call today to schedule a consultation.


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