Community Property – Arizona is a community property state. That means, absent a valid pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement, spouses have an equal interest in assets acquired during the marriage. Generally, it does not matter whose name the asset is titled in, which spouse purchased the asset, or which spouse earned the income which made the purchase possible. Generally, debt incurred during the marriage is also community debt. However, the fact that Arizona is a community property state does not mean that each spouse gets half of each asset and is responsible for half of each debt at the end of a divorce. Often there will be assets that a spouse is particularly interested in keeping. The family law judge has considerable discretion in how to divide the assets and debts in a divorce case. As long as the net value awarded to each spouse is substantially equal, the judge can divide up the assets and debts in a way that is fair for the two spouses, according to their individual circumstances.
Temporary Orders – When a married couple separates in anticipation of divorce, that is a substantial disruption in their lives. Financial arrangements must be changed, quickly. Usually at least one spouse will be looking for a new place to live. There can be disagreements about who will pay which bills, who gets which vehicle, who gets what furniture, etc. When one spouse earns significantly more money than the other, the other spouse may need spousal support payments (alimony). If there are children involved, there may be disagreement about who the children will live with and when the other parent will get to see them. We can help you get an early hearing in your divorce case to get some temporary orders for spousal maintenance, to award one spouse exclusive use of the house, to order which bills will be paid by which house, and for parenting time and legal decision-making to help with this transition.