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What is Division of Property During a Divorce in Arizona?

 

 

As the best divorce lawyers in Gilbert AZ we often get asked, “what is division of property during a divorce in Arizona?” I want to you talk a little bit about a division of property case that I had and how it relates to case that you may be experiencing. I had a client come into my office, Alex, and we sat down and he just realized that his ex wife had got a default divorce against him and had transferred the deed to their house out of his name. It was interesting because he don’t even know they were divorced. So he came into me and he said: “Hey Brandon, I’ve got this problem. You’ve got to help me get out of it.” So we sat down. We looked at it and I asked him to show me the petition for dissolution of marriage which she had filed abut a year before. We looked at it and then I had asked him, “Whoa Alex, why didn’t you respond to this?” He said, “Well when she filed this, she came to me and said: I wanna get a divorce and here’s where we’re at, and then we started talking and we were living apart, but we kind of were talking about how maybe we were gonna get back together, maybe we we’re gonna do something different, and so I kind of left it alone. I hadn’t heard anything.” Well in the meantime, we looked at the court docket and found out that she had filed an application and an affidavit for default. Then, after that, she went had a default hearing without him. He didn’t even have a copy of the default decree. So I had to file a notice of appearance and request a copy of the default decree from the court- and I looked at the default decree, and this was a couple weeks later, I had him come back into my office after I got it.

I looked at the default decree, I looked at the petition and there were some significant differences. I also looked at the docket and saw that the application for default hadn’t been mailed to his home address as it is required to. It had been mailed to some different address that he never lived at. Now, it’s very important to understand that when you get a divorce you can get a default and the reason we have these default statutes are; sometimes people don’t respond and you can’t just wait out there in limbo forever. But it’s very specific. If you’re going to get a default it has to match exactly the terms that are in the petition, and you also have to give the party proper notice that you’re going for a default. Well, neither of those happened in this case. So we met together, we talked about the different options and Alex and I decided the best way to go would be to file to set aside the default, and so we did.

I filed petition to set aside the default and also some of the other required filings that came with them, and then she filed a response and we went and we had a hearing. At this point, she had an attorney, and we had a hearing. Alex and I did really well at the hearing and the judge agreed with us that she hadn’t followed the proper statues and set aside the default. So this was very important because then we had to go and deal with the Arizona property statutes, as far as how we divide the house, how we divide the vehicles, how we divide their retirement accounts, how we divide the other remaining personal property, how we divide the debts and also how we deal with spousal maintenance or alimony as people commonly think of it. So then, we went through the divorce process and because she hadn’t followed the proper statutory regime we got to essentially start over again. Then we were able to follow the Arizona property laws which essentially require that half of the community assets go to husband and a half go to wife and in this case they had been married for a long time so all of the assets that they had acquired were acquired during the marriage. So, instead of the wife getting the house free and clear without him, he was able to get his half of the equity from it.

Alex didn’t wanna do anything wrong. He didn’t want to take advantage of his wife, but he just wanted what he was entitled to and because we were able to get in there and get involved in the case early enough, we were able to set aside the default. First off, I want you to understand that if somebody files for divorce, you should come and talk to me, because there are some things that we need to do. First off, we want to file a response. We want to make sure that Arizona community property laws are followed. But also if a situation happened in which you do have a default against you, there may be something you can do. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking it’s too late, but you don’t want to wait too long, because the statues are pretty clear that you have about six months to try to set aside a default and after that it would be much more difficult. Luckily, Alex came to me within time, we were able to get it done and we were able to get a fair result for him. So if you have any situations like this, it’s important that you should come and see me. Come and see us at the law offices of Kevin Jensen and we can help you and look at your different options, and then we together can decide what is going to make the most sense in your case.

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Jensen Family Law in Gilbert
4365 E Pecos Rd # 138,
Gilbert, AZ 85295
(480) 900-2302




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