Legal Question in Family Law in Arizona

Debts under seperation law

My husband left me in January 2003, he signed the divorce papers with me in front of a notary in March 2003. In April 2003 he purchased a vehicle using an existing vehcile for trade that was in our names. The dealership had me fax copies of our divorce papers to them so that they could complete the sale. I filed the papers with the court in May 2003. My now ex-husband also wrote a check for $500 to the dealership for a down payment, knowing that the check was insufficient. I didn't find out about the check until the dealership already had a lawyer and was serving him and a Mrs. Jane Doe in October 2003. They are wanting over $2000 from me because they have found me, and he can't be found. According to community state law, the date of seperation (January 2003) is the date which our debts and assets become seperate. Am I understanding this correctly or could I be held responsible for his debt?

Asked on 1/24/04, 6:41 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Kathy M O'Quinn O'QUINN LAW, P.C.

Re: Debts under seperation law

In Arizona, your marital community ends on the date in which you were served with the summons associated with your separation petition, or the date upon which you accepted service of the separation petition.

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Answered on 1/25/04, 10:25 am
Rich Peters R. J. Peters & Assoc., P.C.

Re: Debts under seperation law

Under Arizona law, the important date for separation of debts is the date that the divorce papers have been FILED AND SERVED. Thus, this may be after May, 2003.

However, you can still seek orders form the Court indicating that your Husband stay responsible, although this may not help in your civil suit.

I can explain the issues and procedures better by phone or in person. As you can imagine, there is too much to cover via e'mail. We offer free 1/2 hour consultations, in which we can discuss the matter in more detail.

Please call me directly to discuss the specifics of your case, or contact my assistant Audrey to schedule a free 1/2 hour consultation. I look forward to talking with you.

/s/ Rich J. Peters, Attorney



1422 N. 2nd Street, Suite 100

Phoenix, Arizona 85004


602.254-1229 (facsimile)

see our web page at

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Answered on 1/26/04, 2:46 pm

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