January 08, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Dividing up marital property can be extremely complicated in Phoenix, especially when there is significant property, money and businesses involved. For dependent spouses, it is important for them to have an understanding of what marital property is, making sure that their spouses are not hiding anything from them and how to valuate that property.
In Arizona property division
is completed under a community property law. This means that each spouse has equal claims and the property is generally divided straight down the middle. Therefore spouses should make sure that they know what constitutes as marital property and what falls under separate property.
Separate property, according to Forbes, is property that a spouse acquired before the wedding occurred, property that a spouse inherited or property that a spouse received as a gift. Anything that does not fall under these categories likely falls under marital property and this includes retirement funds, professional licenses and even country club memberships.
Hiding marital property
If there is no premarital agreement in place, then spouses may try to hide marital property from the other spouses. This can be done in a number of ways, Forbes says. For example, a spouse may suddenly buy an expensive home for one of the children or sell a business to another family member to keep it from being included as marital property. Some spouses even set up private accounts to funnel money into or may simply arrange for valuable items to disappear.
Strange behavior is the best way to identify that a spouse could be hiding marital property. Such behavior includes:
- Refusing to hand over computer passwords.
- Accidentally deleting financial programs.
- Trying to get a spouse to sign a document without letting the spouse read it.
- Owning a private mail box where financial correspondence is sent.
- Reluctant to turn over information relating to marital property and finances.
- Starts buying expensive items.
In addition, spouses that are hiding property often try to undervalue their business or make claims that their stocks have fallen during the divorce. Many times, spouses count on their intimidation or control of the other spouse to keep that spouse from prying further.
Once all marital property is located, then spouses should make sure that the property is assigned a valuation and that the valuation is done by a professional who is neutral. This ensures that the valuation is accurate.
The valuation is based on a valuation date and this may be a date determined by the judge or by state law. This may work against or for a spouse, depending on the type of marital property, because property could increase or decrease after the date but that will have no impact on what the spouse can claim.
When people are going through a divorce and discussing property division, they should immediately meet with an experienced attorney to discuss their situation.
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