Tucson Divorce Lawyers Assisting Clients with Property Division
At the Benavidez Law Group, P.C., we help clients divide their property and debts upon divorce or separation, including earnings and liabilities from employment, businesses, real estate, retirement accounts and pension plans, investment accounts and automobiles. Our goal is to ensure our clients’ financial security is protected during and after divorce proceedings.
Division of Assets & Debts in an Arizona Divorce
In Arizona, community property law applies in divorce and separation proceedings. Under this theory, there is a presumption that both parties have an equal interest in any property acquired during the marriage. This includes earnings, as well as tangible and intangible assets, such as:
The Family Residence – One of the most difficult items to divide is the marital residence because, usually, the home is owned by both parties and secured by a mortgage, and it is often the most valuable asset of the marriage. In most cases, a plan must be devised that will either sell the home and divide the proceeds or require one person to promise to pay the mortgage until the sale or refinance of the home.
Ownership of a Business – If one of the parties owns his or her own business, a value must be attached to that business. Once a value is reached, there are various ways to divide that asset in the divorce. If the parties do not want to manage the business together, one party may take the business while the other party takes other marital assets of a similar value. If there is not enough marital property to offset the value of the business, there can be a cash payment or payment plan.
Retirement Accounts & Pension Plans – Many people think that their individual retirement plans are separate property and should not be divided as part of the divorce. The law is clear, however, that when one party pays into his or her retirement account during the marriage, such payments were made with community funds, for the retirement of the community, and that portion of the retirement is community property. There are various ways to divide retirement accounts, including placing a cash value on the settlement, or obtaining a court order that directs the company, at the time payment, to pay a portion to each person.
Premarital, Gifted or Inherited Property – Premarital, gifted or inherited property is considered sole and separate property and will not be divided in a divorce or separation proceeding. In many cases, this is not as simple as it would seem. For example, if separate property was comingled with community assets, then it may become community property. Conversely, community assets may have been used for the benefit of a party’s separate asset, giving the community an interest in the separate property.
Our lawyers understand that there is usually a great deal of emotion involved in a divorce, but it is especially important to view property division as a business decision. If you are contemplating marriage and want to clarify or avoid potential disputes about the separate or community nature of certain assets before marriage, you may want to consider a prenuptial agreement. If you are already married, you can set forth your respective rights to certain assets in a postnuptial agreement.
Contact Experienced Divorce Lawyers in Tucson
If you are facing divorce and have concerns about property division, please contact Benavidez Law Group, P.C. in Tucson. You need skilled and experienced legal counsel to protect your interests and your future security.