When you’re getting a divorce, one of the first things you have to think about is how to divide up the property. All that stuff you’ve accumulated over the years — who gets it? The house? The cars? The debt?
Many people assume you just split it 50/50. Half for me, half for you. Well sure, if you both agree to that there is usually no reason why a court won’t give you that in your Divorce Decree. But if you can’t agree to a division of property, there is no obligation for the Arizona Superior Court to divide your assets in half for you. Instead, the courts make an equitable distribution because Arizona courts are courts of equity.
A court of equity is a court that is guided by the concept of fairness. They is no law that says that the court has to divide your property equally, they just have to divide it equitably.
What’s fair or unfair depends on the judge. It is up to the judge to decide what is a fair distribution of your assets and your debts. And it is up to you to convince a judge that what you are asking for is fair.
If your petition is really skewed in your favor and unfairly skewed against your ex-, the judge may not think that is fair and he doesn’t have to give it to you. At the same time, if the judge thinks that it is fair for you to get everything, he can order that as well.
Fairness depends on your particular case. There are many factors that a judge can and will consider: length of marriage, who worked, who didn’t, who went to school, who raised the kids, who committed domestic violence, who moved out five years ago and never kept in touch, and more.
So before you go drawing a line through the middle of the house, remember that the family courts in Arizona are courts of equity. You may get half of the property and debt, or you may not — it all depends on what is fair.