Legal Question in Family Law in Arizona

Separation

My husband and I have just agreed to separate. We had originally planned to sell our house, but realized we wouldn't make much off of it yet, so decided to wait and sell in a couple of years. If we are still separated or divorced by then, he says he will still split the money we make. Well, I ended up moving out of our house with our two children, while he stays in the house and pays for it, the equity loan, auto insurance, utilities and anything else in his name. I have the children full time and pay for all of their needs. He said he would give money for the kids when he can. We have pretty much been able to agree on everything. The house, equity loan, and insurance, all have my name on them, as well as the phone and gas bills. I was wondering if it would still be a good idea to either legally separate, or just sign something saying what we have agreed to, that way we will have something to look back on in case things ever get nasty? I'd appreciate any advice I can get. Thanks.

Asked on 6/16/03, 5:25 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Monica Donaldson Stewart Donaldson Stewart, P.C.
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Re: Separation

Thank you for your inquiry.

The decision to separate or divorce is largely a personal (not legal) one; however, from a divorce lawyer's perspective, it is a good idea to spell out each party's rights and responsibilities, even if the separation is only temporary. Since AZ is a community property state, anything either of you acquires (whether debt or asset) is still considered community until one of the parties is served with a petition for divorce or separation. Generally speaking, the parties are free to agree to any division of property that they choose. Child custody and visitation issues must be decided in the best interests of the child(ren). Child support is calculated pursuant to statutory guidelines.

If you would like to discuss your case in greater detail, please contact my office to schedule an initial consultation.

Sincerely,

Monica Donaldson

(480) 792-9770

monica.donaldson@azbar.org

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Answered on 6/16/03, 11:24 pm

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