When filing for divorce, or the dissolution of marriage, both spouses are typically concerned about property distribution. In some cases, divorcing couples are able to amicably negotiate the terms of property distribution themselves. However, if the divorce is contested, state specific laws will ultimately determine how property and assets will be divided.
If you are going through a divorce, it is essential that you seek the help of a qualified divorce attorney who can inform you of the laws in your state. Please contact the Law Office of Jeff Zurbriggen today for a FREE consultation.
Equitable Distribution vs. Community Property
Marital property refers to any assets, income, and debt acquired during marriage. Some states enforce community property laws, which perceive marriage as a joint partnership in which all marital property must be distributed largely equally upon divorce. Arizona is a community property state. Because both parties are regarded as equal contributors to the marriage – irrespective of who actually made a particular contribution, each spouse is generally entitled to 50 percent of the marital property. This 50/50 rule applies to all cases of community property unless the couple signed a prenuptial agreement identifying non-marital property, or unless the asset or debt qualifies as only one spouse’s sole and separate property.
In most states, property distribution is divided equitably, not equally. This enables courts to determine property distribution on a case-to-case basis to ensure fairness. Under equitable distribution, each spouse is considered to contribute something unique to the marriage, thus the 50/50 rule does not apply in every case. Courts will handle each case individually and weigh the following factors when determining property distribution:
Income and earning power of each spouse
Length of marriage
Age and health of each spouse
Value of non-income based marital contributions
Economic and non-economic fault
Your Legal Rights
If you are going through a divorce, you may be facing property distribution issues. It is extremely important to seek the help of a trusted divorce lawyer who can protect your legal rights every step of the way. Please contact us today for a complimentary consultation with an experienced divorce attorney at the Law Office of Jeff Zurbriggen. We can evaluate your case, inform you of the laws in your state, and work vigorously to maximize your interests.