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ZARINA N. AGUILAR
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DIVISION OF PROPERTY
The Arizona courts are required to make an equitable division of the joint and community property of the parties.
Joint property includes any real or personal property that is jointly owned or titled by the spouses. This can include real estate, bank accounts, motor vehicles and investments jointly titled such as brokerage accounts, stocks and bonds.
Community property is all property acquired by either husband or wife during the marriage unless that property was acquired by gift, devise or descent, or acquired after service of a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment if the petition results in a decree of dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment.
Community property includes pensions, deferred compensation, 401k’s, and other retirement assets that are earned during marriage.
Separate property is a spouse’s real and personal property that is owned by that spouse before marriage and that is acquired by that spouse during marriage by gift, devise or descent, and the increase, rents, issues and profits of that property. Examples of separate property include gifts or inheritances received by a spouse before or during marriage. Property that is acquired by a spouse after service of a petition for dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment is also the separate property of that spouse if the petition results in a decree of dissolution of marriage, legal separation or annulment.
Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, or “QDRO’s” as they are commonly called, need to be drafted in most cases to correctly divide the community portion of retirement accounts and pensions. It is critical that QDRO’s be drafted correctly to protect your share of retirement accounts and pensions.