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Divorce & Property: Who Gets What?

Divorce & Property: Who Gets What?

Common “properties” that accumulate during marriage include: houses, rental properties, retirement accounts, pension plans, stock options, deferred compensation, restricted stock, businesses, brokerage accounts, professional practices, licenses, etc. The decision of who gets what is one of the most challenging aspects of divorce – even in divorces best described as amenable. When the divorce has become contentious, it can be extremely complicated.

Some assume that assets will always be divided based on a simple system of current dollar value. This is not the case. It’s important to be aware of the various possibilities that can occur when the court handles the division of marital assets. It’s even more important to understand which assets will be best for your short-term financial state in comparison to your long-term financial state. This requires a thorough understanding of the assets involved. Various elements must be considered from tax implications to cost basis and liquidity.

If you are attempting to complete the division of marital assets by settlement make sure to work with an experienced attorney either in cooperation with your ex’s attorney or with a mediator guiding you both towards an amicable resolution. The first step is to discuss the separate vs. marital property. The defining of the properties in this way is critical. Many people don’t have a full understanding of this element of the division of marital assets, which can lead to trouble down the road.

What is Separate Property?

Property owned by either spouse prior to the date of the marriage.

Inheritance received by either spouse (before or during the marriage).

Gifts received by either spouse from third parties.

Monies received from personal injury judgments for pain and suffering.

What is Marital Property?

All other property acquired during the marriage, regardless of which spouse is listed as owner or how it is titled.

When Can Separate Property Become Marital Property?

If separate property is combined or “comingled” with marital property, it can lose its separate property status. For example, if you owned a ranch prior to marriage, but you re-titled the separately owned property during your marriage to list your spouse as a co-owner, then the property will most likely be considered marital property by the Court.

If you have questions regarding how to define the properties that will be involved in your divorce proceedings, please get in touch with one of the experienced Arizona divorce lawyers at Arizona Family Law Attorneys today.

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