Protect Your Rights with a Property Settlement Agreement

When couples go through a divorce they need to review and decide on how they will distribute their assets and debts. There are often disagreements, especially when it comes to finances. In Arizona, property and other assets that are obtained during the marriage are considered marital property with a few exceptions. If the couple divorces, they are required to divide marital assets equitably. It may be advisable to protect your rights with a property settlement agreement.

Take Inventory of Community Property

Marital property, also known as community property, includes most of your property. The only exceptions include property you owned prior to the marriage, gifts you received, and any inheritance you got. Make a comprehensive list of all of your assets, along with their estimated value.  If these assets include financial accounts such as bank accounts or 401(k)s, then your list of assets should also include at least the last four digits of any account numbers.

Get the Current Value of Your Home

Your home may be the most valuable asset that you own. It is best to find out the current value of your home. Then you can compare it with the amount owed on the mortgage to find out the equity. To find out what your home is worth, you can look online to see how much similar homes in your neighborhood have recently been sold for. If you want to be more accurate, you may want to have your home appraised.

Determine Property That Belongs To You Alone

When you make a list of property, you need to indicate when and where the item was purchased. If you owned the item before your marriage, it most likely belongs to you and should not be included in your marital assets. Gather receipts and other documentation to prove ownership and to show that the item was purchased prior to marriage.

Resolve Issues of Commingled Assets

Some couples have a long history together, and may have lived together before they married. In many cases, couples have a variety of property that was commingled. It may be difficult or impossible to determine the proper owner. Review these items with your spouse to come to an agreement regarding ownership.

Put All Your Decisions in Writing

Once you come to a decision about the distribution of your assets, you should put it in writing, preferably after speaking with an attorney since written agreements are very likely to be found binding under Arizona Rules of Family Law Procedure. A property settlement agreement will help you get through your divorce more amicably, and with less stress. An attorney will assist in the process and help you create a document that will protect your rights. A fair settlement is possible with assistance from a qualified attorney. Contact the legal team at Udall Shumway PLC to schedule a consultation.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Rights with a Property Settlement Agreement, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact 480.461.5300, log on to, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.