Flower v. Flower (2/25/2010)

March 24, 2010

Arizona Court of Appeals Division One Holds that the Family Court May Order a Substantially Unequal Distribution of Marital Assets and Debts Based On, Among Other Factors, the Relative Contributions Made By Each Spouse to the Community, the Division of Other Marital Assets and Debts, and the Length of the Marriage.

The Arizona Appeals Court affirmed the trial court’s division of property.  The Court explained that ordinarily marital assets and debts should be divided equally, but in rare circumstances, the family court may make an unequal distribution.  In considering whether to make an unequal distribution, the family court should consider, along with any other relevant factor, the relative contributions made by each spouse to the community, the division of other marital assets and debts, and the length of the marriage.  Here, Wife did not claim that she made any contribution, monetary or otherwise, to the community, the trial court made Husband largely responsible for the community debt to improve Wife’s residence, and the marriage began deteriorating only eight months after it began.  Accordingly, the family court did not abuse its discretion in awarding Husband’s residence solely to Husband, despite that Husband deeded the residence to the community.

Judge Brown authored the opinion; Judges Hall and Portley concurred.