Choose Page

De Novo Law Blog

My Ex-Spouse is Hiding Assets in Our Arizona Divorce

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hidden Assets in a  Divorce – How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

Handling a divorce is already a challenging and emotionally taxing process, but it becomes even more complicated when one party suspects the other of hiding assets.

In Arizona, a community property state, all assets acquired during the marriage are typically considered joint property and should be divided equally in a divorce settlement.

However, some spouses resort to deceitful tactics in an attempt to keep assets hidden from their soon-to-be ex-partner.If you suspect that your ex-spouse is concealing assets in your Arizona divorce, it is important to take action immediately. 

Additionally, it is important to note that hiding assets during a divorce is not only unethical but also punishable by law.

In some cases, individuals who are found guilty of hiding assets may even face criminal charges. 

We will cover the following topics

What are Assets in a Divorce

In the context of an Arizona divorce, the term “assets” encompasses a wide range of property types that may be subject to division between spouses.

Assets in a divorce can be broadly categorized into two types: marital assets and separate assets.

Marital assets, also known as community property in Arizona, include all property and income acquired by either spouse during the marriage.

This category typically encompasses:

  • Real Estate: This includes the family home, vacation properties, rental properties, and any other real estate acquired during the marriage.
  • Bank Accounts and Cash: All checking, savings, and other bank accounts that were filled or accrued during the marriage fall into this category.
  • Investments: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment vehicles acquired during the marriage are considered marital assets.
  • Retirement Accounts: Pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, and other retirement accounts accumulated during the marriage are subject to division.
  • Personal Property: Furniture, art, jewelry, vehicles, and other tangible items purchased during the marriage are included as marital assets.

Separate assets, on the other hand, refer to property that belongs solely to one spouse. This typically includes:

  • Property Owned Before Marriage: Assets owned by one spouse prior to entering the marriage remain separate, provided they were kept distinct from marital assets.
  • Inheritances and Gifts: Property inherited by one spouse or gifts given specifically to one spouse, even during the marriage, are generally considered separate assets.
  • Personal Injury Awards: Compensation received for personal injury, except for loss of wages, is typically seen as separate property.

Under Arizona Revised Statutes §25-318, the court seeks to divide marital assets equitably, though not necessarily equally. This means the division is based on fairness, taking into account factors such as each spouse’s financial situation, contributions to the marriage, and future needs.

It’s also important to note that the distinction between marital and separate assets can become blurred, especially when separate assets are commingled with marital assets. For example, if one spouse owns a home prior to the marriage but both spouses contribute to the mortgage payments during the marriage, this can create a situation where the home becomes part of the marital estate.

What if My Spouse Has Undisclosed Assets 

Addressing undisclosed assets in an Arizona divorce involves different approaches before and after the divorce is finalized.

Before finalization, it’s important to inform your legal representation about any suspicions of hidden assets.

 They can utilize legal discovery tools, such as subpoenas and depositions, to uncover these assets. Hiring a forensic accountant may also be beneficial for analyzing complex financial situations. If undisclosed assets are found, this information can significantly impact settlement negotiations for a more equitable division.

If the divorce is already finalized and undisclosed assets are discovered, you may need to file a post-judgment motion to reopen the case.

This requires proving the existence of hidden assets and that they were not identifiable with due diligence before the divorce concluded. While this process can adjust the settlement to reflect the newly discovered assets, it is more complex and less certain than addressing the issue before finalization.

In both scenarios, proactive legal strategy and thorough documentation are key to ensuring a fair resolution. 

Signs Your Spouse is Hiding Assets 

Here are some red flags that could indicate your spouse is concealing property or finances:

  1. Sudden Decrease in Income: If your spouse suddenly reports a significant decrease in income without a legitimate explanation, such as job loss or a pay cut, they may be attempting to reduce their financial obligations or the perceived value of their assets.
  2. Overpaying on Taxes or Debts: By overpaying the IRS or creditors, a spouse can create a situation where they appear to have less available income, while actually setting up a scenario where they’ll receive a refund or credit after the divorce.
  3. Unusual Financial Transactions: Watch for unexplained withdrawals from bank accounts, large purchases made without reason, or the transfer of money to family members or friends. These could be attempts to temporarily move assets out of sight.
  4. Reluctance to Provide Financial Information: If your spouse is unwilling to share financial documents or provide clear answers about financial holdings, this could indicate they are trying to hide assets. Transparency is typical in honest dealings; evasion is not.
  5. Creation of New Accounts: The opening of new bank or investment accounts in their name only, especially if done secretly, can be a sign your spouse is trying to divert funds.
  6. Changes in Business Practices: If your spouse owns a business, they may start to pay nonexistent employees or delay signing new contracts or collecting payments until after the divorce, thereby reducing the business’s apparent value.
  7. Physical Assets Disappearing: Items like art, jewelry, or collectibles suddenly disappearing from the home without explanation can signify an attempt to undervalue the marital estate.
  8. Use of Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrencies can provide a relatively easy way to hide money due to their less traceable nature. If your spouse suddenly shows an interest in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, it could be a red flag.
  9. Defensive Behavior: If asking about finances leads to unusual defensiveness or anger, it may be a sign that your spouse has something to hide.
  10. Documents with Missing or Incorrect Information: Inaccuracies in financial documents, such as tax returns, bank statements, or investment accounts, can be a sign of manipulation or concealment.

What To Do if You Suspect Your Spouse is Hiding Assets in Divorce 

Suspecting your spouse is hiding assets during a divorce can be distressing and challenging. However, there are specific steps you can take to uncover the truth and ensure a fair division of property. If you find yourself in this situation, consider the following actions:

  1. Gather Documentation: Start by collecting as much financial documentation as possible. This includes bank statements, tax returns, investment account statements, property deeds, and any other relevant financial records. The more information you have, the better.
  2. Monitor Bank and Credit Card Statements: Keep an eye on all financial statements for unusual transactions, such as large withdrawals or transfers to unknown accounts. This can help you trace where the money is going and identify any hidden assets.
  3. Hire a Professional: Consider hiring a forensic accountant or a financial investigator who specializes in uncovering hidden assets. These professionals can scrutinize financial records, track down undisclosed accounts, and evaluate business records for any signs of manipulation.
  4. Legal Intervention: Work with your legal professional to utilize legal tools available in divorce proceedings, such as subpoenas and depositions, to compel your spouse to disclose financial information. Your lawyer can also request court orders to freeze assets, preventing your spouse from hiding or dissipating them further.
  5. Review Tax Returns: Tax returns can be a valuable source of information in uncovering hidden assets. They can reveal inconsistencies, undisclosed income, or investments that your spouse may not have disclosed otherwise.
  6. Check for Overpayments: Look for any overpayments to creditors or the IRS, which might indicate an attempt to hide money that could be returned after the divorce settlement.
  7. Consult with Your Legal Representation: Regularly communicate with your family law proffesional about your concerns and findings. They can provide legal advice tailored to your situation and help strategize the best approach to uncover hidden assets.
  8. Stay Organized: Keep detailed records of all your findings, communications, and steps taken. This documentation can be crucial in legal proceedings and in ensuring a fair division of assets.
  9. Consider Court Action: If there’s evidence of hidden assets, your attorney may recommend court action. The court can issue orders for asset disclosure and, in some cases, can sanction a spouse who is found to be hiding assets.
  10. Negotiate Strategically: If hidden assets are discovered, this can significantly impact divorce negotiations. Your representation can use this information to argue for a more favorable division of assets on your behalf.

Remember, in Arizona, both parties are entitled to an equitable division of marital assets under Arizona Revised Statutes §25-318. Taking these steps can help protect your financial interests and ensure that you receive a fair share of the marital property.

Do not attempt to hide assets yourself or retaliate against your spouse, as this can negatively impact your case and lead to legal penalties.

What are the Penalties for Hiding Assets 

The law mandates full and honest disclosure of all assets and liabilities by both parties in a divorce. When a spouse intentionally conceals assets, they not only breach this legal obligation but also undermine the integrity of the judicial process.

The penalties for hiding assets can vary based on the extent of the concealment and the specifics of the case but generally include:

Monetary Sanctions

In cases where one spouse has hidden assets, the Arizona courts may impose monetary sanctions as a penalty. These sanctions can include fines or requiring the offending party to reimburse the other spouse for additional legal fees incurred while uncovering the hidden assets. These financial penalties serve as a deterrent against the concealment of assets and compensate the non-offending spouse for the extra costs involved.

Compensatory Division of Assets

If hidden assets are discovered during the divorce proceedings, the court might order a compensatory division of assets. This means the non-offending spouse may receive a larger share of the marital assets than they would have otherwise. This adjustment aims to rectify the imbalance created by the concealment and ensure a fair distribution of property.

Contempt of Court

Hiding assets can be considered contempt of court, a legal offense that disrespects the court’s authority. Penalties for contempt can include additional fines or even jail time, depending on the severity of the concealment and the judge’s discretion. This measure emphasizes the seriousness of full financial disclosure in divorce proceedings.

Criminal Charges

In extreme cases, hiding assets during a divorce can lead to criminal charges, especially if the act involves fraudulent activities like forgery, perjury, or other forms of legal deception. These charges can result in more severe consequences, including criminal records and incarceration, highlighting the legal system’s stringent stance against asset concealment.

Revised Settlements

If hidden assets are discovered after a divorce settlement has been finalized, the courts can reopen the case to adjust the terms of the settlement. This can lead to a revised division of assets more favorable to the non-offending spouse. Such actions ensure that justice is served, even post-judgment, and reinforce the importance of honesty in the disclosure process.

By understanding these potential penalties, spouses can grasp the serious repercussions of hiding assets in an Arizona divorce. Full and honest disclosure is not only a legal requirement but also a critical component of achieving a fair and equitable division of assets.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

How De Novo Law Can Help

De Novo Law, led by Stephanie Villalobos, offers extensive family law services, helping clients handle complex issues like hidden assets in divorce.

As Arizona’s first legal paraprofessional firm, they provide affordable, experienced representation, especially for those concerned about income and asset disclosure.

If you suspect undisclosed assets or face other family law challenges, De Novo Law can help. Contact them for a free consultation to ensure you’re well represented through the divorce process.

For assistance, call De Novo Law at (480) 725-2200 or visit their contact page for more details

 

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

How to Establish Sole and Separate Property in Arizona

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Sole and Separate Property- How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

When a couple decides to part ways, one of the biggest challenges they face is dividing their assets. Arizona’s community property laws dictate that most property and debts acquired during the marriage are shared equally.

However, separate property — assets owned before the marriage, gifts, and inheritances — typically remains with the individual who owns it.

The process of distinguishing separate property from marital assets requires careful consideration and clear evidence. It involves understanding legal nuances and often, meticulous documentation to prove the ownership and nature of the assets. This process can be complex, especially when separate property has been mixed, or commingled, with marital assets.

Whether you are just starting to consider divorce or are already in the midst of one, knowing how separate property is established in Arizona is a key step in ensuring a fair and equitable division of assets.

We will cover the following topics:

What are Community Property Laws? 

Arizona is a community property state, as defined under Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-211.

This means that any property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is presumed to be community property and, therefore, jointly owned by both spouses.

There are exceptions to this rule, including property acquired by gift, devise, or descent, and property acquired after service of a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or annulment if the petition results in a decree. 

How Does Property Division Work in an Arizona Divorce 

Property division in an Arizona divorce follows the principles of community property law, guided by Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-318.

The law seeks an equitable, though not necessarily equal, division of both assets and debts accumulated during the marriage.

To illustrate how property division typically works in Arizona, here are some examples:

  • Example 1: Division of Real Estate: If a couple owns a home purchased during their marriage, it is considered community property. In a divorce, the court may order the home to be sold and proceeds divided between the spouses, or one spouse may be allowed to keep the home, compensating the other with assets of equal value.

     

  • Example 2: Retirement Accounts: Contributions to retirement accounts made during the marriage are deemed community property. During a divorce, each spouse is typically entitled to a portion of the retirement account that accrued during the marriage, which might require a court order known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) to divide.
  • Example 3: Business Ownership: If one spouse started a business during the marriage, the business is generally considered a marital asset. The value of the business must be assessed, and the non-owning spouse may be entitled to a portion of its worth.
  • Example 4: Division of Debts: Just like assets, debts incurred during the marriage are divided equitably. This includes mortgages, car loans, and credit card debts, which are apportioned based on each spouse’s financial situation and other relevant factors.
  • Example 5: Personal Property: Items such as furniture, electronics, and art, purchased during the marriage, are divided. The couple may agree on the distribution, or the court may decide based on fairness and practicality.

In these examples, the overarching principle is equitable distribution. The court considers various factors, including the length of the marriage, the economic circumstances of each spouse, contributions to the marital estate, and any destruction, concealment, or fraudulent disposition of community property.

It’s important to work with a family law legal professional to advocate for a fair division of property in accordance with Arizona law.

What are Considered Marital Assets 

Marital assets, also known as community property, refer to the property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. The Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-211 provides a framework for distinguishing these assets.

The following is a list of common types of marital assets:

  • Income Earned by Either Spouse: This includes wages, salaries, bonuses, and other forms of compensation received during the marriage.
  • Real Estate: Properties purchased during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title.
  • Retirement Accounts: Contributions to retirement accounts, like 401(k)s and IRAs, made during the marriage.
  • Vehicles: Cars, trucks, and other vehicles acquired during the marriage.
  • Bank Accounts and Cash: Savings and checking accounts opened or funded during the marriage.
  • Investments: Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and other investment assets acquired with marital funds.
  • Furniture and Home Furnishings: Items purchased for the marital home during the marriage.
  • Debts: Loans and credit card debts incurred during the marriage are also considered part of marital assets.

It’s important to note that the distinction between marital and separate assets can be complex, especially in cases where assets have been commingled or used for the benefit of the marriage.

A family law legal professional can provide valuable assistance in identifying and classifying these assets to ensure a fair and equitable distribution in the event of a divorce.

What is Commingling of Assets

Commingling of assets occurs when separate property is mixed with community property, making it challenging to distinguish the original source.

In Arizona, once assets are commingled, they are often presumed to be community property unless there is clear and convincing evidence to establish the separate property character, as per the relevant case law.

Impact of Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements 

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements agreements allow couples to delineate which properties are considered separate and community property, potentially overriding the standard community property rules.

How Does Debt Distribution Work in a Divorce 

In Arizona, similar to asset division, debts incurred during the marriage are typically considered community debts and are divided equitably upon divorce.

This includes credit card debts, mortgages, and car loans.

Depending on their financial situation and other relevant factors, each party may be responsible for a portion of the debt.

What is Considered a Gift in Community Property Laws

When dealing with community property laws in Arizona, especially during a divorce, it’s important to know how gifts are treated.

Generally, most things you get during your marriage are considered joint property and will be divided if you divorce.

However, gifts given specifically to one spouse are usually an exception. Here’s a look at what counts as a gift:

  • Gifts Given Just to One Spouse: If someone gives something only to you or your spouse (like a birthday present), it’s usually seen as separate property. This could be a gift from a friend, family member, or anyone else.
  • Clear Evidence of a Gift: It’s important to have some proof or clear indication that the item was meant as a gift for just one spouse. This could be a note, a card, or any other kind of evidence that shows it was meant to be a gift.
  • Keeping Gifts Separate: To make sure a gift stays as separate property, don’t mix it up with things you own together. For instance, if you get money as a gift, don’t put it in a joint bank account that you both use.
  • Gifts Between Spouses: Sometimes, the rules are a bit different for gifts between spouses. If one spouse gives the other something significant, it might still be seen as joint property unless there’s a clear agreement or proof that says it’s a gift.

It’s important to understand these points about gifts in community property laws because they can make a difference in how things are divided in a divorce. Keeping good records and being careful about how you handle gifts can help ensure they stay as separate property.

What Happens to My Inheritance in a Divorce 

Generally, in Arizona, an inheritance received by one spouse is considered separate property and is not subject to division in a divorce, as stated in Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-213.

However, if the inheritance is commingled with community property or used for the benefit of both spouses, it may lose its separate property status.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

How a Family Law Legal Paraprofessional Can Help 

When it comes to figuring out which property is yours alone in an Arizona divorce, a family law legal paraprofessional at De Novo Law, can be a big help.

They offer affordable help for situations where you need to show that certain things you own shouldn’t be split up in a divorce. This includes things you owned before getting married, gifts given just to you, or money you inherited.

By working with a legal paraprofessional, you get expert help to make sure your personal property is clearly defined and protected during the divorce process​

If you’re ready to take action and want expert help, contacting De Novo Law Firm is easy. De Novo Law offers a free initial consultation to discuss your case and can be reached at (480) 725-2200

 

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

Arizona Divorce and Property Division

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Property Division- How a Legal Paraprofessional Can Help

Arizona is a community property state, which means that all property and debts acquired during a marriage are considered community property and are subject to division in the event of a divorce.

However, there are certain assets that may be considered separate property, such as inheritances or gifts received by a spouse. When going through a divorce in Arizona, it is important to understand the complexities of property division in order to ensure a fair and equitable distribution of assets.

Legal paraprofessionals, such as De Novo Law, specialize in providing assistance with divorce and property division. They offer a free initial consultation to discuss your case and provide guidance on how to proceed. With their expertise, you can ensure that your spousal and marital assets are handled fairly and in accordance with Arizona law. 

We will cover the following topics:

Property Division Under Community Property Laws

In Arizona, property division during a divorce is guided by the state’s community property laws.

These laws affect how assets and debts are divided between the spouses.

Principles of Community Property in Arizona

  • Equal Ownership: Under Arizona Revised Statutes (ARS) §25-211, assets and debts acquired during the marriage are considered community property. This means that both spouses have equal ownership.
  • Equitable Division: While the starting point is equal division, ARS §25-318 allows the court to make adjustments to ensure a fair distribution based on various factors, including the duration of the marriage, the financial circumstances of each spouse, and contributions to marital assets.
  • Distinct from Common Law States: Unlike common law states, where assets are typically divided based on the title or ownership, Arizona’s community property laws focus on an equitable distribution of all marital assets and debts.

Consideration of Marital Contributions

  • Direct and Indirect Contributions: Courts consider both direct financial contributions (such as income) and indirect contributions (like homemaking or childcare) when dividing property.
  • Non-Monetary Contributions: The non-monetary contributions of a spouse, which might include career sacrifices or supporting a spouse’s education, are also recognized in property division.

Handling of Debts

  • Shared Responsibility: Just as assets are divided, debts incurred during the marriage are usually considered a joint responsibility under ARS §25-215.
  • Exceptions: If one spouse incurred a debt without the other’s knowledge or for non-marital purposes, the court might assign this debt solely to that spouse.

Agreements Between Spouses

  • Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements: Agreements made before or during the marriage, if valid, can significantly alter how property is divided, as per ARS §25-201 et seq.
  • Settlement Agreements: Spouses may agree on how to divide their property, and such agreements, if reasonable and not coerced, are typically upheld by the courts.

Application of Community Property Laws in Arizona Divorces

Community property laws apply to all assets and debts that either spouse acquires during the marriage, with a few exceptions for separate property.

It’s important to understand that the division is based on value, not necessarily on a physical division of each asset.

For example, one spouse may keep the family home, while the other receives assets of comparable value.

The goal of these laws is to reach an equitable division that considers the financial situation and needs of each spouse, ensuring that both parties emerge from the divorce with a fair share of the marital estate. 

What Counts as Separate Property vs Marital Property

In Arizona, the division of assets in a divorce is heavily influenced by the classification of property as either separate or marital.

Separate property includes assets owned before marriage, inheritances, gifts, and personal injury awards (excluding lost earnings).

However, this can change to marital property if commingled or enhanced through marital efforts.

Marital property, also known as community property, comprises assets and debts acquired during the marriage, including income and purchases.

 The proper classification is important as marital property is divided according to community property laws, while the owner typically keeps separate property.

Accurate documentation and legal agreements like prenuptial or postnuptial contracts are also valuable in this process.

How Does Property Value Affect Asset Division 

In Arizona divorces, valuing common assets such as houses and cars is necesssary for equitable property division.

The family home, often the most significant asset, requires an accurate market valuation, usually determined by a professional appraisal.

This value is central to the asset division process, as it influences the distribution of other assets and debts to ensure fairness.

For instance, if one spouse keeps the home, the other may receive different assets, like investments or cash, to equalize their share. Similarly, cars are valued based on factors like make, model, age, and condition, with adjustments made in other areas to maintain equitable distribution.

Other assets, including furniture, electronics, and personal items, are also evaluated, though their valuation can be more subjective.

These items are often divided through mutual agreement, with consideration for each party’s usage and attachment.

In cases involving complex assets like family businesses, specialized appraisals are required, taking into account not just current earnings but also future potential and market trends.

Accurate valuation of these assets ensures adherence to Arizona’s community property laws, facilitating a fair division. Legal and financial experts are frequently involved in this process.

How is a 401k split in an Arizona Divorce?

Dividing a 401k in an Arizona divorce requires careful attention to the state’s community property laws and the specific details of the retirement plan.

Here’s an overview of how a 401k is typically split during a divorce in Arizona:

  1. Community Property Consideration: In Arizona, the portion of the 401k accumulated during the marriage is considered community property. This means that it is subject to equitable division between the spouses.
  2. Use of Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO): A QDRO is a legal order specifically designed to divide retirement plans, including 401ks. This order ensures the division is executed in compliance with both state law and the retirement plan’s rules.
  3. Approval by Plan Administrator: The QDRO must be approved by the plan administrator. This step is crucial to ensure the division adheres to the specific guidelines and regulations of the 401k plan.
  4. Tax Implications: Dividing a 401k can have significant tax implications. Withdrawals from a 401k are typically subject to taxes, and the division of these assets in a divorce should be managed in a way that considers these tax consequences. The use of a QDRO can facilitate a direct transfer of funds to the other spouse’s retirement account, potentially avoiding immediate tax penalties.
  5. Seeking Professional Advice: Due to the complexities involved in dividing retirement assets like a 401k, it is often advisable to seek legal and financial advice. This ensures that the division is not only fair and equitable but also compliant with legal requirements and sensitive to tax implications.
Stephanie Villalobos, LP

At De Novo Law, a legal paraprofessional like Stephanie Villalobos can provide valuable assistance in family law matters, including the process of property division in an Arizona divorce. As a licensed Legal Paraprofessional (LP), she is equipped to handle various aspects of family law with a focus on affordability and accessibility.

Specifically for property division, De Novo Law offers guidance and representation in:

  • Division of Debt and Assets: Assisting clients in dividing marital assets and debts under Arizona’s community property laws.
  • Separate vs. Marital Property: Providing expertise in distinguishing between separate and marital property for equitable distribution.
  • Representation in Court: LPs like Stephanie Villalobos are licensed to represent clients in court, ensuring professional legal assistance throughout the divorce process, including property division negotiations and proceedings.
  • Affordable Legal Services: De Novo Law emphasizes affordability, offering legal services at rates lower than traditional attorneys. This can include hourly or flat fee arrangements for specific services, making legal assistance more accessible.

The role of LPs at De Novo Law is to fill the gap in legal services, particularly for those who may find traditional legal fees prohibitive. They can provide comprehensive legal services, from advice and drafting legal documents to representing clients in court.

De Novo Law offers specialized legal support for individuals seeking assistance with property division in an Arizona divorce. You can contact De Novo Law for a free one-on-one consultation to discuss your concerns. To schedule this consultation and access their affordable legal services, call them at (480) 725-2200.

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.

De Novo Law Blog

10 Facts for Selling a House During Divorce or After a Divorce

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Figuring out what to do with your marital home can be one of the most difficult decisions you and your estranged spouse might have to negotiate. Many people are attached to their homes and find it hard to let them go. However, it might be necessary for you to downsize and find a more affordable home instead of remaining in your house.

Similarly, if you have significant home equity in divorce, you might not be able to afford to buy out your spouse’s interest. If you have a mortgage in both of your names, selling a house during divorce and splitting equity might be the best solution to separating your finances.

Some people believe that they must retain divorce attorneys to help them navigate property division issues, including selling their marital homes. However, you can also choose to retain a licensed legal paraprofessional from De Novo Law.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP, is licensed by the Arizona Supreme Court to handle divorce cases and property division issues on behalf of her clients and to represent them in court at a more affordable cost than what you would typically be charged by a divorce attorney.

Here are 10 facts about selling a house during divorce and after divorce that you should keep in mind when you are trying to figure out what to do about your marital home.

5 Facts About Selling a House During Divorce

If you are considering selling a house during divorce and splitting equity with your spouse, keep the following five facts in mind.

1. The Court Can’t Order a Party to Sell Before a Divorce Decree

If you want to sell your marital home, your estranged spouse must agree. While you can get temporary orders from the court, the judge can’t order your spouse to agree to sell your home.

In Saxon v. Riddel, 493 P.2d 127 (Ariz. Ct. App. 1972), the Arizona Court of Appeal ruled that trial courts cannot enter temporary orders to force a spouse to sell his or her interest in the shared marital property even when the other spouse wants to sell and has found a buyer with a good offer.

This means your spouse will need to agree to sell your house before you can put it on the market.

However, if you owned a home before you were married in your name and still own it, it is your separate property and is not a part of the marital estate. In that case, you won’t have to get your spouse’s consent to sell your separate property.

 


 

2. The Parties Must Get Clearance to Sell Their Home During a Divorce

At the time your divorce case is filed, the court issues several restraining orders enjoining either you or your spouse from selling marital property or spoliating assets. These restraining orders also prevent you from selling your home without an agreement and order by the court. 

To get an order lifting the restraining order for selling a house during divorce and splitting equity, you and your spouse will need to draft and sign a stipulated agreement agreeing to place your home on the market. You will need to file your stipulation with the court.

Once you’ve filed it, the court will issue it as an order so that you and your spouse can move forward with selling your marital home.

 


 

3. Staging Is Important to Prevent Signs the Parties Are Divorcing

When you place your home on the market during a divorce, you need to remove signs that you are divorcing.

This is because prospective buyers and real estate agents notice signs of divorce and might then try to get you to agree to a lower price or less favorable terms.

Buyers understand that divorcing couples are motivated sellers and might need to sell their homes quickly. Try to remove the following signs that a divorce is pending:

  • Missing pictures from the wall
  • Missing furniture/sparse furnishings
  • Empty closets
  • Unkempt landscaping
  • Other indicators of stress/distress

You might want to get help from a real estate agent with staging your home so that it appears more inviting. If your spouse has moved out, try to fill in the voids left behind.

If you and your spouse are both in the home during the divorce, avoid arguing or the appearance of conflict when prospective buyers come to view your home, and avoid telling them your reason for selling is a divorce.

 


 

4. A Spouse Who Can Buyout the Other Should Be Allowed to Do So

If your spouse truly wishes to remain in your marital home and doesn’t want to sell it, you should give him or her the chance to buy out your home equity in divorce. If you choose to do this, make sure your spouse is in a position to refinance the home in his or her name alone.

If he or she doesn’t have the financial means to assume the mortgage, your legal paraprofessional can negotiate with your spouse to try to secure an agreement to sell your home to get your name off the deed and the mortgage.

You won’t want your name to remain on the mortgage after your divorce because it could have the following impacts:

  • Tie up your credit and prevent you from buying a new home because of your debt-to-income ratio
  • Make your credit score decline if your spouse fails to keep up with the mortgage payments
  • Prevent you from separating your finances so that you can move forward with your life

If your spouse says that he or she can refinance the home, set a deadline for him or her to do so. If your spouse can’t refinance the home in their name within that deadline, your agreement should stipulate that the home will have to be placed on the market when the deadline passes without refinancing.

 


 

5. The Parties Should Hire a Neutral Real Estate Agent

If you both agree that selling your home during your divorce and splitting equity is the best idea, you should agree to hire a neutral real estate agent to represent both of your interests when selling your home.

Only choose someone you both agree to hire so that the real estate agent will be someone whom you both trust.

Once you have hired a real estate agent, have only one of you serve as the point of contact with the real estate agent.

This can simplify the process since the agent won’t have to communicate with each of you and potentially sift through conflicting instructions.

5 Facts About Selling a House After a Divorce

If you get the marital house in your divorce, selling it after your divorce is final can be easier than trying to sell it while your divorce is pending. At this point, you also shouldn’t have to deal with home equity in divorce since your decree should already include that aspect.

Here are five facts you should know about selling your house after your divorce.

1. The Other Spouse’s Name Should Be Removed from the Deed

If you received the home in your divorce property division, your spouse’s name should not remain on the deed. If it is, you need to go to get a copy of your deed from the recorder’s office. Create a new deed that transfers the title to your home from your ex-spouse to you alone.

Once the new deed has been signed, record it and retain a copy showing that it is in your name only.

If you have a mortgage in both of your names, you can show your lender your divorce decree and submit a quitclaim deed. The lender might allow you to refinance the mortgage in your name alone as long as you can handle it. Otherwise, you might have to sell the home to get both of your names off of the mortgage.

 


 

2. The Divorce Can Be Found by Prospective Buyers

Divorce cases are matters of public record, which means that prospective buyers can find that you recently divorced. However, this does not mean that they will know your motivation for selling your home since it is yours alone.

Even if a potential buyer discovers your divorce, it is unlikely that the buyer will know why you are selling or try to use your divorce to lowball you.

 


 

3. Staging Will Be Important to Fill in Voids

After dividing your property in your divorce, your home might be sparsely furnished with voids throughout the home. Staging will be critical in helping you secure a good sales price.

Work with your real estate agent for ideas on how to stage your home to place it in the best light. You will want it to appear welcoming to interested buyers.

 


 

4. You Will Have More Control Over the Process

One advantage of selling your home after divorcing is that you will have control over the process. You won’t have to deal with your ex-spouse in making decisions about offers or how the process should work. 

 


 

5. Buyers Won’t Necessarily Know Your Motivation for Selling

Even though you recently divorced, buyers won’t necessarily know why you are selling your home. This means that you won’t have to worry about buyers trying to use your divorce as a way to secure more advantages in the sale.

Stephanie Villalobos, LP

Talk to Stephanie Villalobos, LP

If you are filing for divorce in Arizona and want to sell your home, you should speak to Licensed Legal Paraprofessional Stephanie Villalobos about how to handle your property division and your divorce.

Dealing with home equity in divorce can lead to significant conflict. Ms. Villalobos can represent you throughout your case and work to secure an agreement that will protect your interests. Call (480) 725-2200 to schedule a free consultation for an affordable divorce.

Call Stephanie Villalobos, LP For Immediate Help

Affordable and Experienced Family Law Legal Services
Schedule an Appointment Today!

DISCLAIMER: The content of this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice.  De Novo Law, LLC and its Legal Paraprofessionals are not attorneys and are not authorized to provide legal advice or representation beyond the areas and scope of practice for which license is held.  The transmission or receipt of any electronic correspondence or information does not create a legal paraprofessional-client relationship.

CONTACT US

Contact De Novo Law at any time to setup a free one-on-one consultation so we can discuss your concerns.

Please Call Us at (480) 725-2200 or Fill Out the Form Below to Schedule a FREE Initial Consultation with an Affordable Legal Paraprofessional to Assist with an Arizona Divorce or other Family Law Matters.