Arizona Divorce Debt
Divorce Debt in Arizona
Arizona is one of nine states in the nation that is considered a community property state when it comes to Arizona divorce debt. This means that almost all property (both assets and debts) that are acquired during the time of a couple’s marriage will be legally recognized as community property and/or debt.
What is the difference between community and separate debt? How is community debt actually divided? How do you enforce an order dividing debt in an Arizona divorce decree?
Difference Between Community and Separate Debt
Arizona divorce debts are generally those debts incurred during the marriage or for the benefit of a community asset. Community debt is recognized as the liability of both parties equally. Separate debts are generally all debts incurred by either spouse prior to marriage or after service of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage has occurred. Separate debt is recognized as the separate debt of only one of the spouses.
Determining which debts are the community debts and which debts are separate is important in approaching the division of those debts, as well as the division of marital property. After determining which debts are community property, the Court will determine how to equitably divide those debts between the parties, which is typical to divide community debt equally between the parties. Separate debts are assigned solely to the spouse accruing that separate debt.
How is Community Debt Divided
One of the riskier aspects of the division of marital property concerns the division of Arizona divorce debt. In a perfect world, we would all have the funds available to pay off all of our debts, so we could start off post-divorce with a clean slate.
This is not the case for most people. Although a court has the authority to divide community debt between the parties, the court does not have the authority to order either party to pay off the debt by a lump sum payment. This leaves the other party potential liable to the creditor who may come after him or her if his or her former spouse stops making payments as ordered.
It is important, therefore, to understand some strategies to consider when dividing community debt in an Arizona divorce. One strategy is to have each party responsible for the debts in his or her sole name, such that a wife would take all credit cards in her sole name and a husband would take all debts in his sole name. Any difference in the debt balances could be resolved in a couple of ways.
One option is to award the spouse with a larger amount of the community debt with a larger portion of the community assets in such amount as would equalize the division of community debt. If it appears the other spouse either has no ability to pay the debts assigned to him or her or it is proven he or she will simply refuse to pay any debts assigned to him or her, you may ask the court to assign all the debt to the responsible spouse and then equalize that inequality by giving him or her the same amount of community assets as he or she is assuming in debts with additional assets being equally divided between the parties.
How To Enforce a Division of Debt in an Arizona Decree
Regardless of what orders the court enters regarding the responsibility for the Arizona divorce debt, both spouses are still legally liable for those community debts. Stated differently, a creditor is not bound by the court’s order regarding who is responsible for the debt because the creditor was not a party to the divorce case and, therefore, any rulings in the divorce case cannot be imposed upon a creditor.
If a former spouse fails to pay a debt assigned to him or her, you will need to enforce the court’s order to pay the debt as ordered. In order to do so, the innocent spouse would have to pay the debt his or her spouse was ordered to pay and then seek a judgment from the court against his or her former spouse for the amount paid to the creditor.
The Arizona Supreme Court in the case of Proffit v. Proffit ruled that a person may not be held in contempt for his or her failure to pay a community debt because doing so would violate the constitutional prohibition against imprisonment for not paying debts.
The Proffit v. Proffit Ruling Explained
[arve url=”https://vimeo.com/148250942″ title=”Contempt of Court.” description=”Learn About Contempt of Court from Our Arizona Licensed Divorce Attorney Chris Hildebrand of Hildebrand Law, PC.” upload_date=”2019-04-22″ duration=”1M1S” /]
If you need help deciphering the laws pertaining to community and separate debt, please get in touch with Hildebrand Law, PC. We would love to go over the related issues with you and aid you in protecting yourself from debt in an Arizona divorce. To learn more about how to protect your rights during your divorce, get in touch with our Arizona divorce attorneys. We are available to assist you immediately.
If you have questions about divorce debt in Arizona, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona divorce and family law attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in divorce and family law cases.
Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.
Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your divorce or family law case around today.
More Articles About Divorce in Arizona
- The advantage of Filing Divorce First in Arizona
- Are Prenuptial Agreements Enforceable in Arizona
- Arizona Divorce
- Arizona Divorce Attorney Reviews
- Arizona Divorce Child Custody
- Arizona Divorce Forms
- Arizona Divorce Laws
- Arizona Divorce Laws Alimony
- Arizona Divorce Laws and Statutes
- Arizona Divorce Laws on Adultery
- Arizona Divorce Papers
- Arizona Divorce Practice
- Arizona Divorce Process
- Arizona Divorce Records Search
- Arizona Marriage Laws
- Asset and Property Search in an Arizona Divorce
- Arizona Divorce When You Can’t Find Your Spouse
- Change to Maiden Name After Divorce in Arizona
- Changing Orders in an Arizona Divorce Decree
- Children and Divorce in Arizona
- College Expenses After Divorce in Arizona
- Complex Divorce Cases in Arizona
- Conciliation Court Services in Arizona
- Consent Required for Marriage of Minors in Arizona
- Considering the Children during a Divorce in Arizona
- Convert to a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- Coping With Divorce in Arizona
- Court Services to Save a Marriage in Arizona
- Custody of the Family Pet in a Divorce in Arizona
- Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona
- Divorce After Legal Separation in Arizona
- Divorce and Children in Arizona
- Divorce Arizona
- Divorce Case is on the Inactive Calendar in Arizona
- Divorce Court Jurisdiction in Arizona
- Divorce in Arizona Without Children
- Divorce Procedures in Arizona
- Divorce Records in Arizona
- Divorce Statistics in Arizona
- Divorce Support Groups in Arizona
- Domestic Violence and Divorce in Arizona
- Effect of Adultery on an Arizona Divorce
- Effects of Divorce on Children in Arizona
- Enforceable Arizona Prenuptial Agreements
- Failure to Include an Issue in an Arizona Divorce
- Filing for Divorce in Arizona
- Filing for Divorce to Receive Alimony in Arizona
- Guide to Divorce for Men in Arizona
- High Asset Divorce in Arizona
- High Conflict Divorce in Arizona
- High Net Worth Divorce Arizona
- How is a Divorce Finalized in Arizona
- How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take in Arizona
- How Long Does it Take to Get a Divorce in Arizona
- How Long Does it Take to Get Divorced in Arizona
- How Long Does Uncontested Divorce Take in Arizona
- How Long To Be Separated Before Divorce in Arizona
- How long to get Temporary Orders in Arizona
- How Much Does it Cost to Get a Divorce in Arizona
- How to Appeal a Divorce Decree in Arizona
- How To Find Good Divorce Attorney in Arizona
- How to Start a Divorce in Arizona
- Learn About Uncontested Divorce in Arizona
- Legally Separated File Divorce in Arizona
- Marital Settlement Agreement in Arizona
- The merger of the Settlement Agreement in Arizona
- Military Divorce Laws in Arizona
- Misled Into Signing Divorce Settlement in Arizona
- Modifying a Divorce Decree in Arizona
- No Contest Divorce in Arizona
- No-Fault Divorce in Arizona
- Order to Pay Spouses Attorney Fees in Arizona
- Parenting Class During a Divorce in Arizona
- Petition for Dissolution of Marriage in Arizona
- Protect Children in a Divorce in Arizona
- Quick Divorce in Arizona
- Reasons for Divorce in Arizona
- Reasons to File for Divorce in Arizona
- Represent Yourself in Arizona Divorce Case
- Same-Sex Divorce in Arizona
- Sealing Court Records in an Arizona Divorce
- Sell Home During Divorce in Arizona
- Selling Property During a Divorce in Arizona
- Served With Divorce Papers in Arizona
- Serving Divorce Papers by Publication in Arizona
- Should I Keep the House in a Divorce in Arizona
- Social Media Evidence in Divorce in Arizona
- Stop an Arizona Divorce
- Stop an Arizona Divorce if You Change Your Mind
- What Happens at a Resolution Management Conference in Arizona
- What Happens If the Divorce Case Goes to Trial in Arizona
- What Happens Temporary Orders Hearing in Arizona
- What is a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- What is a Default Divorce in Arizona
- What is a Family Law Master in an Arizona Divorce Case
- What is a Preliminary Injunction in an Arizona Divorce
- What is a Temporary Orders Hearing in Arizona
- What is the Divorce Process in Arizona
- What Reasons Do I Need to Obtain a Divorce in a Covenant Marriage in Arizona
- What to do When Served with Divorce Papers in Arizona
- When Can I File For Divorce in Arizona
Chris Hildebrand wrote the information on this page about Arizona divorce debt to ensure everyone has access to information about the division of debts in Arizona. Chris is a divorce 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 divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce.