What Happens To Out-of-State Property When You Get a Divorce in Arizona?


If you are an Arizona resident and getting divorced, you are not alone. Arizona ranks 13th in the nation for the highest divorce rate per capita and the number of divorces seems to be increasing each year.

If you are getting divorced, you will need to prepare yourself for the changes that will occur. These changes are often stressful and can impact your finances, friendships and living conditions.

What to expect during a divorce?

  • The court will obtain a valuation on all community property and will use it when determining how things are to be divided.
  • Property that cannot be agreed upon will be sold and the profits divided.
  • Out of state property will classified as community or separate property and divided accordingly.

What Happens to Out of State Property When You Get a Divorce?

When it comes to dividing property that is in states other than the one where the divorce is taking place, the process is still similar to that of dividing property that exists in the state where the divorce is happening. This means that so long as the property is considered to be community property it will be divided just as normal community property would be.

From obtaining a divorce decree to ensuring you obtain the best appraisers in order to protect your property and investments, a competent attorney is here to make this process go smoothly. Read on for more information on how property is divided during a divorce.

Properties to be Divided in a Divorce

Arizona is considered to be a “community property” state, and this means that all property and assets, except for inheritance or gifts, obtained by you or your spouse during your marriage belongs equally to both parties when you divorce.

The word property does not solely mean the house and or land that you and your former spouse own, instead property refers to any and all things purchased throughout the course of a marriage.

Common Examples of Real Property to be Divided in a Divorce:

  • Houses
  • Furniture
  • Electronics
  • Land
  • Cars
  • Recreational Vehicles
  • Bank Accounts
  • Retirement Accounts
  • Jewelry
  • Businesses

The list of all items considered to be property is extremely lengthy, so the list above only lists several of the most common items and just because an item you have is not listed does not mean it is not considered property and will not be divided in a divorce.

If you are unsure whether or not something of yours is considered to be property, a competent and experienced divorce lawyer will gladly assist you in determining what is property as well as ensuring you get what you deserve.

Equally Dividing Property

In Arizona, all property and assets purchased during a marriage are considered to be community property, meaning that they were for the betterment and enjoyment of both spouses as well as should a couple decide to divorce, all community property is to be equally divided among them.

Equally dividing property among former spouses may seem easy as it should just be a 50/50 split, however easiness is rarely the case as when things are not agreed on, they are then sold, and the profits are shared.

When the court is seeking to equally dividing the community property of a marriage there is often debate as to whether or not the property being divided is being shared equally as the division of property is not as simple as splitting 20 or 30 items between two people as each item has differing values.

To ensure that community property is being shared equally, a judge will use appraisal prices on each and every item to come up with a total value of all property and then will use that amount for the division.

When using appraisals to divide marital property it is extremely beneficial for you to have an attorney assist you in finding appraisers who are well experienced and are then able to determine the true value of your assets. Failure to hire an experienced appraiser may result in lower valuations of your assets which in turn will lead to a loss of your own money.

Can a Judge Make You Sell Your House in a Divorce?

During a divorce, all community property is to be divided equally among the spouses, but as it is commonly known, most divorce proceedings are rather contentious, and the former couple may not agree on how their property should be divided.
If the former couple can’t decide on how to divide their property, the court will do so for them. For example, the court may decide that one spouse gets to keep the house, or they can require the property to be sold and the profits split.

The court will use the following criteria when determining who gets the house:

  • Financial circumstances of each spouse
  • Financial contributions made by each spouse towards the house
  • Age and overall health
  • How either spouse would pay for the home after the divorce is finalized
  • Value of the home
  • Whether or not minor children live in the home

If the couple who is divorcing has children who are under the age of 18 and still living with them, then the court most likely will award the house to the spouse who will have custody of the children. The court does this to protect minor children from the instability that can occur during a divorce as allowing them to stay in the home will allow for them to hold on to their friendships as well as attend the same schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can the wife stay in the house after the divorce?

A. If the wife has been granted custody of minor children she is most likely going to get to stay in the house following a divorce. If there are no children involved then it is on a case-by-case basis.

Q: How does a house out of state get divided in a divorce?

A. If the house is determined to be community property then it is treated as if it were in the state where the divorce is occurring and one of the spouses will get it or the house may be sold and the profit will be divided.

Q: Can a judge make you sell your house in a divorce?

A. If you and your spouse don’t agree on who gets what, a judge can step in and require the house to be sold and the profit split.

Call the Family Law Team at (480) 467-4348 to discuss your case today.

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