A joint account or separate accounts? When it comes to money, assets, and divorce, this can be an important question. Arizona is a community property state, so, for the most part, assets acquired during the marriage are considered to belong equally to both spouses.
Many couples are deciding to keep separate bank accounts. Each individual will often have his or her paycheck deposited into this separate account. Bills are then either divided or the couple also has a joint account that they contribute to so that bills can be paid. This method often works well when the couple has different financial personalities or has brought significant assets into the marriage.
While it may appear that this method will make things easier if the couple divorces, the state of Arizona assumes that regardless of how the assets are titled if they were acquired during the marriage, they are marital property. This means that even if the house is titled in only one name or a substantial amount of money is in an account owned by only one of the spouses, they may be considered marital property. This means that the assets will likely be divided between each individual in a property division settlement.
With this in mind, Arizona will want to keep records of assets that are brought into the marriage or if one of the individuals receives an inheritance during the marriage. Additionally, the individual will want to keep these items separate and not commingle them with marital assets. Legal counsel can be invaluable in assisting the individual in determining what needs to be included in the property division settlement and how best to divide these assets in a divorce.