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DIVORCE 101: A BEGINNER’S GUIDE

By:  J. Kyle Scoresby

Researchers have found that the stressfulness of divorce is second only to the death of a spouse. In addition to the stress caused by the breakup of the relationship, “fear of the unknown” as to the divorce process can cause sheer panic. While only marital reconciliation can alleviate the stress brought on by the marriage breakup, an understanding of the divorce process can often help calm the rattled nerves of those contemplating divorce or in the midst of a divorce case. […]

EQUITABLE BUT UNEQUAL DIVISION OF REAL ESTATE IN DIVORCE

I. Introduction

Under Arizona Revised Statutes § 25-318 (A), Arizona divorce judges are directed to “divide the community, joint tenancy and other property held in common equitably . . . .”

Over the years, Arizona courts have interpreted this statute to require that “all marital joint property should be divided substantially equally unless sound reason exists to divide the property otherwise.” Toth v. Toth, 946 P.2d 900, 903, 190 Ariz. 218 (1997) (citing Hatch v. Hatch, 113 Ariz. 130, 133, 547 P.2d 1044, 1047 (1976)). This article will address the limited circumstances under which an Arizona court may stray from the general rule that jointly held real estate be divided substantially equally.

When a husband and wife acquire jointly titled real estate during their marriage using during-marriage earnings or financing to purchase the real estate, there is virtually no basis for either spouse to argue for an unequal division of such real estate. In this situation, the real estate will, without any foreseeable exception, be divided substantially equally between the husband and the wife.

There are two fairly common scenarios, however, in which one spouse may be able to make a tenable claim that real estate should be divided unequally because an equal division would not be equitable. The first situation is where one spouse brings a piece of real estate into the marriage and subsequently adds his or her spouse’s name to the deed. The second situation is where, during the marriage, one spouse uses sole and separate funds to acquire real estate but where title to the real estate is nevertheless taken in both spouses’ names.

In such situations, the “separate property spouse” may argue, first, that by putting his spouse on the deed to the property, he […]

WINNING A NON-PARENT CUSTODY CASE: A DIFFICULT BURDEN OF PROOF

By:  J. Kyle Scoresby

A.R.S. § 25-415 allows a person other than a legal parent to seek custody of a child under certain circumstances. Winning custody of a child for the non-parent, however, is a tall order. […]

NON-MODIFIABLE SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE

By: J. Kyle Scoresby

In an Arizona divorce case, the family court judge is authorized to award spousal maintenance if the judge determines it is warranted under A.R.S. § 25-319. By agreement between a husband and wife only, the spousal maintenance order may be made non-modifiable. A.R.S. § 25-319 (C). […]

FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE — MAYBE. Prenuptial Agreements in Arizona

By: J. Kyle Scoresby

Tiger Woods has one. Madonna and Guy had one. Donald Trump has had several. Of course, I’m speaking of prenuptial agreements. With the nationwide divorce rate at approximately 50%, and even higher for second marriages, it’s not difficult to understand why. […]

DOUBLE DIPPING: BUSINESS BUYOUTS AND SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE

By: J. Kyle Scoresby

If you are a small business owner with no or few employees and you are about to go through a divorce, get prepared for pain. If you have a long-term marriage and you earn significantly more than your spouse, get prepared for a double dose. […]

SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE CALCULATIONS

By: J. Kyle Scoresby

Just about every day a client or potential client asks me how much spousal maintenance (alimony) she will receive in her divorce or how much spousal maintenance he will have to pay in his divorce. […]

THE SEVEN DEADLY SINS IN DIVORCE

There are seven deadly sins or errors people going through divorce commonly commit. By avoiding these seven common mistakes, you will greatly improve the likelihood of a favorable outcome in your case. […]