Scottsdale Division of Assets
Scottsdale Division of Assets
Arizona is what is known as a Community Property state. This means that when a couple divorces, their physical property, as well as their financial assets and debts, are divided 50/50, or as close to it as possible. That is, of course, when couples who are divorcing leave it up to the courts to decide. Fortunately, there is another option. If you are going through divorce or considering a separation, a Scottsdale division of assets lawyer can help you determine the best way to distribute and divide the assets and debts without having to go to court.
In the event that two people are in agreement on the division of property, there will be no need to go in front of a judge in a traditional courtroom setting. State laws and federal laws affect property division laws and processes, including that it needs to be “fair and equitable” for both parties. Whether there’s a lot of assets or only a few, they all need distributed properly.
The first step is to hire an experienced Scottsdale division of assets lawyer and then learn more about the asset division process.
Community vs. Separate Property
With a few exceptions, any property acquired during the course of the marriage is considered community property. Separate property is that which belongs only to one spouse, including property or assets owned before the marriage, inheritances and gifts, profits, etc. This can also include anything acquired after the divorce.
Community property can include everything from the house and cars to pensions and retirement funds, investments, commissions, and even high-value jewelry, recreational vehicles, and these days, even virtual assets. Working with a lawyer who is experienced in the division of assets will ensure that every piece of property gets equitable division.
What is a Property Settlement Agreement?
For divorcing couples who don’t want a judge to decide the fate of their property, there is the option to create a property settlement agreement. This is more of a mediation-type step and will usually prevent the need to go to court. In Arizona, if both parties agree on the terms and draft this agreement to handle the division of assets, it must be acknowledged and recognized by the law and the legal process.
For example, a couple may be divorcing and have a lot of financial investments. They may decide to divide them equally amongst themselves and then put a few in a separate trust for their children. With something like this, the court would usually allow the settlement and not intervene.
These agreements can include provisions for all types of physical and financial property, including assets and financial debts, and can be custom-written to the needs of each case. In the event that the terms are unreasonable or otherwise unsatisfactory to the courts, they may rule differently about who gets what after a divorce. Usually, though, the courts are inclined to agree if the parties involved are also in agreement.
The Steps to Property Division in Scottsdale
Scottsdale division of assets lawyers will start the property division process by explaining the four steps of the process to you. These include identification, classification, valuation, and division. During the discovery process in the divorce proceedings, all property interests need to be disclosed. This is also where prenuptial or postnuptial agreements will be brought up and submitted to the courts.
Identification of all assets and debts
This first step involves taking an inventory of all assets and debts, including everything from vehicles to houses and even savings accounts, and so forth. It’s important to list all property here so that it can be divided accordingly. This includes tangible and intangible property. Tangible items are those that you can touch, while intangible assets could be something like a trade secret or digital currency.
Classification to community or separate property
Next, the property will all be classified as separate or community property. This will depend on when the property was acquired, as well as whether there is a prenup or postnup to consider in the case. For example, if the wife bought the house and paid most of the mortgage, she might have also created a prenup that stated the house would remain separate property even after they were married. There is a lot more to this process but it gets really complex, and is best left to be explained by your lawyer as you’re going through your own divorce.
Valuation of assets
Now it’s time to figure out what everything is worth. Fair market value, actual value, and other costs are considered here to help determine the most accurate value for each asset. Sentimental items aren’t likely to have a lot of value, financially, so they’re best divided with the settlement agreement where both parties can agree to who gets what and what value comes with it.
Hiring a lawyer can help with the valuation of assets process because they can deal with complex details, make sure that there are no hidden or concealed assets, etc. There are also several other people that may be involved in this step of the division of assets process, including appraisers, accountants, and others.
Division of assets and debts
Finally, all debts and assets will be divided according to the information gathered thus far, as well as whether there is a settlement agreement in place. If it’s left to the courts, it’s likely that they will attempt to make sure that everything is close to equal, even if it should really lean heavily on one side or the other.
If the judge decides where assets and debts go, people may end up stuck with bills that aren’t theirs and that only adds more stress to the equation.
Hire Scottsdale Lawyers for Divorce, Asset Division, and More
At Modern Law, we know all about asset division, divorce law, and family law in Arizona, including Scottsdale and the surrounding area. We take pride in fighting for your rights and making sure that everyone is pleased with the asset arrangements as much as possible. If you want to learn more or find out how to get started on your asset division, contact us at (480) 571-0346 or visit our office at 8707 E Vista Bonita, Suite 155.
8707 E Vista Bonita Drive, Suite 155 Scottsdale, AZ 85255