Flagstaff Property Division Lawyer

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Flagstaff Property Division Attorney

In the midst of a divorce, the separation of property and assets can make the situation more stressful, especially when both spouses are struggling to come to an agreement. No one wants to go to court and have a judge make those decisions for them, but it’s sometimes unavoidable. Whether you are handling your property division situation with the assistance of a judge or outside the court, having a Flagstaff property division lawyer by your side during the process can greatly benefit the outcome of your case.

Flagstaff Property Division Lawyer

Why Should You Choose Glazer, Hammond, Ruben and Smets, PLLC?

At Glazer, Hammond, Ruben and Smets, PLLC, our lawyers have over six decades of combined professional experience. We provide all of Northern Arizona with a variety of legal services, handling each case with compassion, transparency, and open communication. With our collective knowledge of the legal system, our firm has helped clients of varying backgrounds achieve satisfactory case results since 2018.

Defining Property Division

Typically, when a couple goes through a divorce, part of that legal process is the distribution of all property obligations and rights between the divorcing parties. This matter can often be addressed outside of court, and the assistance of a family lawyer in Flagstaff can help you reach a settlement or agreement. It is also common for such matters to be decided by a judge when spouses can’t come to an agreement, but neither party has much say in this case.

Community Property and Separate Property

There are two approaches to property division in a divorce: equitable distribution and community property. Equitable distribution is the fair, but not necessarily equal, division of marital property between spouses. Only a handful of states are community property states; Arizona is one of them. Community property is all property and debt acquired throughout the course of the marriage. Under this approach, property is essentially distributed equally, but it may not be exactly 50/50.

There are some exceptions to what assets are considered community property, including inheritance, gifts, and personal injury settlements acquired during the marriage. These assets fall under separate property. Any property or debt that was bought or acquired before marriage is separate property. Your spouse has no legal right or obligation to your separate property during a divorce, and vice versa. Basically, whatever you entered the marriage with, you can leave with.

If you are unsure how to distinguish between community and separate property, an experienced family attorney in Flagstaff, AZ can help you with an accurate categorization.

Transmutation and Commingling

Although the distinctions between community property and separate property are fairly clear, it is important to know that separate property can become community property due to transmutation or commingling.

Transmutation is usually accomplished when both spouses agree to the change. For instance, if one of you purchased a house and decided after getting married that you want to add the other spouse to the title to show that they share ownership, the house that was once separate property would become community property. The intentional transmutation of the property means that it can no longer be perceived as separate.

Commingling is a little different and isn’t always done intentionally. It happens when separate property somehow gets mixed with community property. If you bought a house before marriage, under your name alone, then used marital funds to pay for the mortgage or any kind of changes to the house, that is considered commingling. The house would then become community property. Your spouse may not be entitled to half ownership, but they may be able to claim some percentage of ownership.

How Marital Agreements Affect Property Division Laws

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can change the nature of separate and community property in a marriage. A home that was purchased as separate property can become community property if it is put in a marital agreement. Likewise, a marital agreement can state that any property obtained by each spouse during the marriage will remain their separate property.

Writing up an agreement is a way for you and your spouse to decide on your own what will be community property and what will be separate property. This can be done before you are officially married or after you have gotten married.


Q. How Do I Protect My Assets in a Divorce in Arizona?

A. A great way to protect your assets in a divorce is with a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. With this, you can discuss with your spouse what property belongs solely to each of you as well as what property you will share equally. Putting assets in a trust can also protect them in a divorce if done correctly and with the help of a skilled estate planning attorney.

Q. How Much Does a Real Estate Attorney Cost in AZ?

A. The cost of a real estate attorney in Arizona can range from anywhere between $150 an hour to $500 an hour. Some real estate attorneys may charge a flat fee for certain services. The varying costs are based on factors including the type of property you have, how complex your situation is, and the services necessary. If your situation is complex, you would benefit greatly from having an attorney to advise you.

Q. How Do I Overcome the Presumption of Community Property in Arizona?

A. If you want to overcome the presumption of community property, you have to have clear evidence proving that the property was:

  • Acquired before you were married
  • An inheritance or gift
  • Acquired after your spouse had already been served a legal separation or divorce

Convincing evidence could include clear documentation or having your spouse admit to it.

Q. How Is Property Divided in a Divorce in Arizona?

A. In Arizona, each spouse leaves the marriage with the separate property they entered the marriage with, as well as half of whatever property they obtained or acquired together during the marriage. This is the way property is automatically divided if there is no prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that states otherwise.

Consult With an Attorney at Glazer, Hammond, Ruben and Smets, PLLC

If you are a resident of Flagstaff, AZ, and are seeking the help of a property division lawyer, contact us at the law firm of Glazer, Hammond, Ruben and Smets, PLLC, to schedule a consultation. One of our skilled attorneys can help you navigate the complex task of property distribution and work hard to get you a favorable outcome.

Glazer, Hammond, Ruben & Smets, PLLC

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