Division of assets and debts can be a hotly debated issue for any divorcing couple. It can be a challenge to arrive at an equitable split, and it is not uncommon for the issue to be litigated in the courts. However, creative thinking, and a willingness to explore options in mediation or settlement negotiations, can go a long way in resolving the difficult matter of dividing property.
At the Phoenix law office of Gary J. Frank, P.C., we have extensive experience guiding clients through the process of divorce. Our experience and knowledge of divorce law are direct benefits to our clients as they attempt to untangle their property issues and proceed into their new lives.
Property Equalization Payments
It is not uncommon for an amicable divorce to turn contentious over property division. Whether it is a family business, a home, vacation properties, a valued personal item, or division of bank, brokerage, or retirement accounts, couples are often overwhelmed by the task of dividing the marital assets and debts. Sometimes a party has a significant emotional attachment to certain assets. Other times the parties are stopped in their tracks by fear and uncertainty. One way to overcome your fear and arrive at a fair division of your marital assets is to consider the notion of “Property Equalization.”
Dividing Property Equally
Arizona law requires marital property to be divided “equitably,” which is defined as being substantially equal. Liquid assets (such as monies in bank accounts), can be easily divided; but other property (like automobiles, furniture, etc.) cannot be cut in half. When one party receives an item of property of greater value than the other party, an equalization must be made. Put simply, a property equalization payment is intended to equalize the final division of property between parties to a divorce. It can be paid in a lump sum cash payment or by installment payments; or it can take the form of an item of property given to one party which will make the overall property division equal.
There are times where a person will choose to take an amount in cash as an equalization instead of receiving spousal maintenance. Unlike spousal maintenance, which is taxable to the person who receives it and deductible to the one who pays it, a property equalization payment does not result in a taxable obligation. There are pros and cons to this approach. The decision whether to structure a payment as spousal maintenance or an equalization payment should be made only after a careful and thorough examination of all relevant factors. Since the complexity of the process largely depends on the client’s specific situation, it is crucial that you seek a skilled equalization payment attorney in Phoenix.
Contact an Experienced Equalization Lawyer
At the office of Gary J. Frank, P.C., we have over thirty years of experience in dealing with property division, equalization payments, support, child custody, and all aspects of Family Law. We take great care to offer focused legal representation to address every client’s specific issues.