Our top priority in this time of uncertainty is protecting the health and safety of our employees, clients, friends and families. Our office will remain open, but we are primarily working remotely. Essential personnel are in the building, but in their own isolated suites. We believe it is prudent to limit in-person meetings and settlement conferences during this time. Currently, the best way to communicate with us is through emails and telephone calls. Be assured that our technology allows us to provide the same seamless service you would have if everyone were here in person. If an in-person meeting is required, we are strictly adhering to CDC Guidelines. We are posting regular updates on how COVID-19 affects family law issues on our blog and our Facebook page.

The McCarthy Law Firm, PLLC

Turning Stress Into Solutions™

Divorce & Division of Community Assets

Unless there is a very good reason, the Family Court must divide community assets equally in a divorce. Other than that, however, the court has lots of leeway in deciding exactly how to divide them up. In the past, some judges have delayed the sale or award of a marital home while the children are minors. A recent Arizona court has changed all that.

Yes. But, they are few and far between. Absent compelling circumstance, Arizona courts must divide community property equally. Equal division is the law. But it doesn’t require a chiseled cut. The ragged edge of a chainsaw will do as long as justice is achieved.

Not without agreement of your spouse. A recent Arizona case makes it clear that a family court must actually divide the community property at the time of the divorce. It cannot require the former spouses to hold the property jointly until a later date, absent their agreement. That’s because when a divorce decree is entered, each person receives an immediate, present and vested separate property interest in the property awarded to them by the trial court.

The court may consider the children’s interests when it divides property and this includes the award of the marital home. However, in doing so, the court may not adversely affect the other spouse’s interest. Rather, the court must put a value on the property and order that the receiving spouse pay the other person his or her 50% share.

The short answer is No. The court can award it to one party and give the other party equivalent value in other assets. But if there is a contentious battle over its value, the court could allow a bidding war between the spouses or order it to be sold. In the case of a buy-out, the court will not discount the value because no closing costs or commissions will actually be incurred.

Deeding the property to your spouse will not relieve you of the underlying mortgage–only the lender can do this, which usually requires refinancing by the owner spouse. So make sure you ask the Court to set a deadline for your spouse to refinance at his or her sole cost. If the deadline is not met, ask the Court to order that it be sold.

Yes. Division of community assets and obligations can be a bit tricky. While taxes are not triggered because of the divorce itself, down the road, the owning party may experience tax consequences down the road when he or she sells it. So it is important to keep your eye on the future tax consequences in the event of sale of property. Business values are another issue that has a lot of gray area it. Changes in values of assets after the divorce is filed and the proper division of retirement assets are other issues. Suffice it to say, that there are lots of potential issues when it comes to dividing assets and obligations. To find out more check out the article “What’s All the Fuss? – Why Can’t Divorcing Spouses Just Divide Community Assets Equally?”

Message from The McCarthy Law Firm​

The McCarthy Law firm is a full service family law firm that services all family law issues. If you are going through a divorce or have questions about parenting time or legal decision-making, we are here to assist you. Please call us at 520-623-0341 to explore your options. Turning Stress Into Solutions ™.

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