You gathered information regarding all of your assets, verified as best you could that your future ex-spouse wasn’t hiding assets and you made some preliminary decisions regarding how you would like to divide the marital estate. You even agreed to negotiate a settlement outside of the courtroom.
Then, once you began the talks, they broke down. You attempted to get things back on track, but the two of you are simply too far apart to proceed without some help. You may wonder where to turn next.
You could go directly to court, but since Arizona is a community property state, the court will begin by assuming all of the property you own belongs to both of you equally and will split it 50/50 or close thereto. If you want more flexibility than that, you may want to find another way to stay out of court.
Mediation may be the answer. The mediator’s job is to keep you on track and help you reach a resolution with which both of you can live. You retain the ability to create your own settlement. You will also save time and money over going to court. Mediation usually results in an agreement in much less time than waiting for a court date. If this process doesn’t work or is cost prohibitive, then you may need to go to court.
Before you make your choice, it may help to gain an understanding of how the court will divide your property. Yes, Arizona is a community property state, but you may still need to find out what a nearly equal split would look like in your case. Is your spouse claiming an asset is his or her separate property, so it shouldn’t be included in the marital estate? Do you suspect that he or she is hiding assets? These types of questions require answers before making your decision.
You don’t have to decide alone
Considering the gravity of the situation, it may be in your best interests to sit down with a family law attorney who can provide you with a detailed analysis of your situation. He or she may also be able to provide you with legal options you had not considered that would allow you to reach an agreement without going to court. Furthermore, if it looks as though going to court is the most viable option for you, having an experienced advocate on your side could prove invaluable.