Is Arizona a 50 50 State in a Divorce
Many people ask if Arizona is a 50 50 state in a divorce. A judge in Arizona is required to fairly and equitably divide the parties property and debts in an Arizona divorce or legal separation. The terms “fair” and “equitable” has been defined to mean substantially equal.
A judge, therefore, must make a division of assets and debts that are substantially equal. However, there are Court of Appeals decisions that have supported an unequal division of property in an Arizona divorce or legal separation case. However, a judge must provide a reason for an unequal division of property if the inequality is significant.
Waste of Community Assets
A judge may order an unequal division of property if the court determines one of the spouses has wasted community assets during the marriage. In Arizona, both spouses have a fiduciary relationship with each other. A fiduciary relationship requires both spouses to manage the community finances in a way that benefits the community.
Any waste of community assets, such as one spouse squandering substantial amounts of money on gambling and other addictions, could be found by a judge to be a violation of his or her fiduciary duty to the other spouse. In such cases, the court could award the other spouse more community assets to make up for that waste of community money.
Concealment or Destruction of Community Assets
A judge may also award an unequal division of property if one spouse hides community assets. If the concealed assets are discovered, the court could award the other spouse as much as 100% of the concealed assets. Likewise, if a spouse destroys community assets a judge could award the other spouse more than 50% of the remaining community assets to the other spouse. It is fairly rare, however, that a judge will not divide property 50 50 between spouses in Arizona.
Call the experienced Scottsdale and Phoenix Arizona attorneys at (480)305-8300 at Hildebrand Law, PC to learn more about community property laws in Arizona.
Chris Hildebrand wrote this article about whether Arizona is a 50 50 state in a divorce to ensure everyone has access to information about community property laws in Arizona. Chris is a family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a child custody case should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through.