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The potential pitfalls of DIY divorce settlements

Arizona law allows couples to negotiate the terms of their divorces without the assistance of legal counsel. However, hiring an attorney may help you avoid a variety of mistakes that could prolong the settlement process. Furthermore, these mistakes could increase your risk of being involved in a dispute that may require a significant amount of time and money to resolve.

You may lack an understanding of property division laws

Arizona is a community property state, which means that you are entitled to roughly half of all assets obtained during a marriage. However, you are generally not entitled to any property that your spouse acquired before the union became official. Furthermore, any assets that your spouse received as a gift will typically remain his or her separate property regardless of when he or she obtained them.

You may be surprised at how expensive it can be to live on your own

After a divorce, you will likely need to pay for your own home, car and food. You may also need to pay for your own medical insurance as a single person. An attorney can tell you more about the expenses that you might incur while living on your own and how to account for them.

Don’t forget about the tax implications of a divorce

A divorce settlement may require you to sell stocks, divide a retirement account or take other steps that might trigger a taxable event. Without an attorney’s guidance, you may inadvertently reduce the value of any assets that you receive from your spouse. If you’re planning on selling the family home as part of the marriage dissolution process, it might be best to do so while still married. This is because you’ll get a larger capital gains tax exemption.

If you are planning to end your marriage in the near future, it’s generally better to do so with the help of an attorney. He or she may help you obtain a favorable settlement in a timely manner.