Did you know that divorce laws dramatically differ from state to state? There are two ways divorces are handled: community property states versus common law states. Many east coast states such as New York and Connecticut are common law states, whereas many west coast states such as Arizona, California, Idaho, New Mexico, Washington, Nevada, Texas, and Alaska are community property states.
We are in a community property state in Arizona. So what does this mean? It means everything including assets and debts you accumulated before you got married, anything you inherited before and during the marriage, and generally gifts during the marriage to you, and some lawsuit settlements during the marriage are your separate property. Separate property means that is yours when you get divorced. Now here’s where the hammer drops. Everything you and your spouse have accumulated during the marriage, debts, assets, property, anything not in the previous category is community property from the moment you get married to the moment that divorce petition is served if the petition ends in actual divorce. So that means if you were the sole income earner during the marriage, every single penny is half owned by your spouse. This includes your retirement. Your spouse is entitled to half of whatever retirement you have accumulated and vice versa. Did your spouse rack up a whole lot of debt while you were married? Well guess what you are half responsible. Did your spouse get their PhD during the marriage and rack up hundreds of thousands of dollars of student debt? You are half responsible for the debt even though your spouse incurred it. Recently with recession, the tricky areas of property division have been real property or homes. Many homes are now underwater, so soon to be divorced couples are clueless as to how to dispose of that property.
Additional issues are the areas of health insurance. Almost every health insurance will not allow an ex spouse to be covered. This is true even if both parties agree to it. There are ways to compensate for this loss.
These issues are where an experienced divorce attorney comes in handy. I can answer your questions and guide you to the best possible outcome for your particular situation. Every single divorce is different. I give you personalized attention and work tirelessly for you. My office phone number is my cell number and I frequently answer phone calls from my clients after hours and on weekends. More importantly, I offer free consultations so give me a call today and let me explain how I can help your situation. Call 520-631-3286 to talk to me, Riisa Petersen, managing attorney at Petersen Law Firm PLLC.