Is Arizona a 50 50 State in a Divorce
Many people ask is Arizona 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. This would tend to suggest that Arizona is a 50 50 state in a divorce.
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.
Some Situations Where Arizona is not a 50 50 State in a Divorce
There are some situation in a divorce where it is fair and equitable not to equally divided assets and/or debts equally in a divorce in Arizona
Specifically, the court may find it is more fair and equitable to award one spouse more of the assets or more of the debts.
These cases typically occur when the court concludes a spouse has committed a waste of community assets, has intentionally destroyed community property, or is hiding community assets.
Waste of Community Assets Provides a Basis for Arizona Not to be a 50 50 State in a Divorce
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 Provides a Basis for Arizona Not to be a 50 50 State in a Divorce
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.
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Chris Hildebrand wrote the information on this page about is Arizona 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.