Division of Assets in Divorce in Arizona
Marital property division can create excessive strain between couples going through an already contentious divorce process. In fact, while many divorces do end amicably, an even greater number end with families divided for years to come. The greatest contributor to these rifts? Property.
Assets that have been accumulated through years of companionship will undoubtedly need divided equitably between both persons, with perhaps extra given to parents expected to retain custody of children. May take hours of work from an attorney, but it can happen.
Let’s learn ways to provision assets accumulated during marriage in a manner that appeases all parties.
Decide what’s absolutely necessary to keep
Men should find no pleasure in keeping items traditionally belonging to women, such as wall decorations, sewing machines, fancy baker’s racks and so forth. Women, of course, would probably find their husband’s excess car parts useless to their future goals.
Splitting personal property shouldn’t be an arduous task, especially if those items were brought into the marriage and not a product of the marriage.
When it comes to multiple real estate properties such as rentals or vacation homes, mortgaged properties should be paid by the one who dwells in the property, unless the home is paid down enough where selling could net both parties a handsome return. Properties “free and clear” should be sold if not dwelled in, with that profit being split 50/50.
Each spouses should have a reliable vehicle of their own. If more than two vehicles are owned, make sure teenage children expected to drive soon have a vehicle ready; if not, sell excess cars and trucks and share those profits.
Boats, recreational vehicles and other large purchases should be given to those who use them most. If the wife uses the jet skis more than husband, it’s not unfair to allow her to retain possession. Same with bass boats and husbands.
Bank accounts and shared retirement accounts should be split equally, although the first place both parties attempt to hurt each other is at the bank level. Credit card debts, personal loans and other dually-acquired debts should be split evenly, unless the wife is willing to pay her Victoria Secret bill without hubby, and hubby takes the Menards card for his own use.
Try to agree at the attorney level
One or both parties will retain counsel to protect their interests. Upon retaining counsel, usually the first party to file gets their needs pushed before the court ahead of the other spouse. But what may lessen the financial and emotional strain could be how amicably both parties split property prior to the provisional hearing.
Putting an agreement on paper may spare either party from going to two court dates; once an agreement is forged between both parties and entered into court records, the attorneys can appear at the provisional hearing on behalf of their clients. However, if nothing is resolved before the hearing, all parties will need to appear.
With an agreement on where assets will go, the one and only court date you’ll need to appear at is the final one where the judge absolves you from the marriage.
Provisioning doesn’t need to be stressful
Contrary to what divorce forums and bad media reports suggest, dividing assets isn’t hard. It takes two people willing to cooperate for the greater good to make asset provisioning work. Agreements can be forged without a judge intervening, making the process even smoother. Just remember that hiding assets can come back on you later down the road.
If you question whether your ex-spouse is willing to resolve asset disputes outside of court, make sure your divorce attorney is clear that you’re not out to “rake them across the coals”.
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