Knowledgeable Family Law Attorney in Arizona Counsels Clients on Community Property
What courts count as marital assets
If you are divorcing, it is important to understand what counts as community property, because that will determine what you can keep and what you must divide with your spouse. The issue is complex, and you need a knowledgeable divorce attorney to ensure that you are not unfairly deprived of the money and property you are due. Mark Cord in Scottsdale can help you obtain a fair division of property in the greater Phoenix area. He is one of the few attorneys certified as a family law specialist by the Arizona State Bar.
Arizona as a community property state
Community property is what the court will consider to be jointly owned by a divorcing couple. It will therefore either be divided between the parties or have to be sold and divided so that each party receives a fair share. Separate property is what the court will consider to be owned by only one spouse, who will get to keep it. Whether through divorce mediation or litigation, Mark can help to show the court what is fair in terms of division of community property and separate property.
Classifying community and separate property
In Arizona, there is a strong presumption in family law that all assets and debts accumulated during marriage are community property. Property one spouse owned before marriage, or acquired by gift or inheritance during marriage and kept separate, is his or her separate property, as long as he or she can prove it with financial records or other documents. Income earned by either spouse during marriage and any assets purchased with that income are community property. However, separate property may be converted to community property, whether intentionally or not, by mixing it with community property, such as by:
- Adding your spouse’s name to the title
- Allowing your spouse to deposit money into your bank account before marriage
- Paying expenses required to maintain the property from your joint account
Distinguishing the types of property can be complicated, and the ultimate decision lies with the court, unless the parties can work out an agreement. If you are getting a divorce, Mark Cord will negotiate on your behalf and, if he cannot reach an agreement, will fight for your property rights.
Valuing and dividing community property
In order to fairly divide the assets and debts, they must be valued. The couple may simply agree to assign values to particular pieces of property, or they can leave it to the court to do so. In either case, Mark Cord can work with appraisers and other professionals if necessary to help determine the amount. For example, an accountant, actuary or other financial professional may be necessary to value retirement assets. Mark can also choose appropriate experts to give their opinions regarding such values to the court.
Once everything is valued, the division of assets can occur. As with valuation, the parties may come to an agreement about how to divide the community property and debts; otherwise, the court will decide. The assets and debts are usually divided equally, but things like whether alimony is being provided can be considered, as can whether one spouse has incurred unusually large debts or recklessly spent money on gambling or drugs. Mark Cord can offer decades of experience when so much is at stake for you.
Contact a dedicated Scottsdale lawyer for a free consultation about community property
Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, Mark Cord helps divorcing clients in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area with community property issues and more. Call Mark today at 480-994-0345 or contact him online for a free consultation.