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-------------------------- Senate Engrossed -------------------------- State of Arizona Senate Forty-seventh Legislature First Regular Session 2005 -------------------------- SENATE BILL 1145 --------------------------
AMENDING SECTIONS 25-318, 25-319 AND 25-320, ARIZONA REVISED STATUTES; RELATING TO DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE.
(TEXT OF BILL BEGINS ON NEXT PAGE)
Be it enacted by the Legislature of the State of Arizona:
Section 1. Section 25-318, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
25-318. Disposition of property; retroactivity; notice to creditors; assignment of debts; contempt of court
A. In a proceeding for dissolution of the marriage, or for legal separation, or in
a proceeding for disposition of property following dissolution of the marriage by a court
which previously lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse or previously lacked
jurisdiction to dispose of the property, the court shall assign each spouse's sole and
separate property to such spouse. It shall also divide the community, joint tenancy and
other property held in common equitably, though not necessarily in kind
, without regard
to marital misconduct. For the purposes of this section only, property acquired by
either spouse outside this state shall be deemed to be community property if the property
would have been community property if acquired in this state. This section does not
prevent the court from considering all actual damages and judgments from conduct that
results RESULTED in criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other
spouse or child was the victim, excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction,
concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held
B. The community, joint tenancy and other property held in common for which no provision is made in the decree shall be from the date of the decree held by the parties as tenants in common, each possessed of an undivided one-half interest.
C. The court may impress a lien on the separate property of either party or the marital property awarded to either party in order to secure the payment of:
1. Any interest or equity the other party has in or to the property.
2. Community debts that the court has ordered to be paid by the parties.
3. An allowance for child support or spousal maintenance, or both.
4. All actual damages and judgments from conduct that
results RESULTED in
criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim.
D. The decree or judgment shall specifically describe by legal description any real property affected and shall specifically describe any other property affected.
E. This section applies through both prospective and retrospective operation to property without regard to the date of acquisition.
F. In all actions for the dissolution of marriage or legal separation the court shall require the following statement in the materials provided to the petitioner and to be served on the respondent:
In your property settlement agreement or decree of dissolution or legal separation, the court may assign responsibility for certain community debts to one spouse or the other. Please be aware that a court order that does this is binding on the spouses only and does not necessarily relieve either of you from your responsibility for these community debts. These debts are matters of contract between both of you and your creditors (such as banks, credit unions, credit card issuers, finance companies, utility companies, medical providers and retailers).
Since your creditors are not parties to this court case, they are not bound by court orders or any agreements you and your spouse reach in this case. On request, the court may impose a lien against the separate property of a spouse to secure payment of debts that the court orders that spouse to pay.
You may want to contact your creditors to discuss your debts as well as the possible effects of your court case on your debts. To assist you in identifying your creditors, you may obtain a copy of your spouse's credit report by making a written request to the court for an order requiring a credit reporting agency to release the report to you. Within thirty days after receipt of a request from a spouse who is party to a dissolution of marriage or legal separation action, which includes the court and case number of the action, creditors are required by law to provide information as to the balance and account status of any debts for which the requesting spouse may be liable to the creditor. You may wish to use the following form, or one that is similar, to contact your creditors:
Creditor name and
Within thirty days after receipt of this notice, you are requested to provide the balance and account status of any debt identified by account number for which the requesting party may be liable to you.
G. On the written request of any party to a pending dissolution of marriage or legal separation action, the court, except for good cause shown, shall issue an order requiring any credit reporting agency to release the credit report as to the spouse of the requesting party on payment by the requesting party of any customary fee for providing the credit report.
H. On the request of either party and except for good cause shown, the court shall require the parties to submit a debt distribution plan that states the following:
1. How community creditors will be paid.
2. Whether any agreements have been entered into between the parties as to responsibility for the payment of community debts, including what, if any, collateral will secure the payment of the debt.
3. Whether the parties have entered into agreements with creditors through which a community debt will be the sole responsibility of one party.
I. The following form may be used to verify agreements with creditors:
Agreement with creditor
The parties to this agreement include __________________ and ______________________ who are parties to a dissolution of marriage action filed in _____________________ county superior court, Arizona, case number __________________ and __________________ who is a duly authorized representative of ___________________________ (creditor).
The undersigned parties agree that the debt owed by the parties to ___________________ (creditor) is to be disposed of as follows (check one):
___ The debt is the joint responsibility of the parties, with payment to be made on the following terms:________________
___ The balance of the debt is the sole responsibility of _____________________ and the creditor releases ___________________ from any further liability for that debt, with payment to be made on the following terms: ______________________________________________________
___ The debt has been paid in full as of this date.
We the undersigned acknowledge this agreement.
Subscribed and sworn to before me this _____ day of ________, _____.
J. If the parties are not able to agree to a joint debt distribution plan pursuant to subsection H the court may order each party to submit a proposed debt distribution plan to the court. In its orders relating to the division of property the court shall reflect the debt distribution plan approved by the court and shall confirm that any community debts that are made the sole responsibility of one of the parties by agreement with a creditor are the sole responsibility of that party.
K. An agreement with a creditor pursuant to subsection I that assigns or otherwise modifies repayment responsibility for community debts secured by real property located in this state shall include all of the following:
1. A legal description of the real property.
2. A copy of the note and recorded security instrument, the repayment of which is to be assigned or modified by the agreement with a creditor.
3. A written and notarized acknowledgment that is executed by all parties to the debt, including the lender, and that states one of the following:
(a) The terms for the repayment of the debt remain unchanged.
(b) The terms for the repayment of the debt have been modified and, beginning on the date of the execution of the acknowledgment, the creditor has agreed that one of the debtors assumes the sole responsibility for the debt and that the other debtor is released from any further liability on the debt.
(c) The debt is paid in full and all parties to the debt are released from any further liability.
L. An agreement executed pursuant to subsection K shall be recorded by either party in the county in which the real property is located.
M. After an agreement is recorded pursuant to subsection L, either party may request that on payment of the title company's fees for the document a title company authorized to do business in this state provide the requesting party with a lien search report or other documentary evidence of liens and other agreements of record in the title to the property.
N. If a party fails to comply with an order to pay debts, the court may enter orders transferring property of that spouse to compensate the other party. If the court finds that a party is in contempt as to an order to pay community debts, the court may impose appropriate sanctions under the law. A party must bring an action to enforce an order to pay a debt pursuant to this subsection within two years after the date in which the debt should have been paid in full.
O. Within thirty days after receipt of a written request for information from a spouse who is a party to a dissolution of marriage or legal separation action, which includes the court and case number of the action, a creditor shall provide the balance and account status of any debts of either or both spouses identified by account number for which the requesting spouse may be liable to the creditor.
Sec. 2. Section 25-319, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
25-319. Maintenance; computation factors
A. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage or legal separation, or a proceeding for maintenance following dissolution of the marriage by a court that lacked personal jurisdiction over the absent spouse, the court may grant a maintenance order for either spouse for any of the following reasons if it finds that the spouse seeking maintenance:
1. Lacks sufficient property, including property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for that spouse's reasonable needs.
2. Is unable to be self-sufficient through appropriate employment or is the custodian of a child whose age or condition is such that the custodian should not be required to seek employment outside the home or lacks earning ability in the labor market adequate to be self-sufficient.
3. Contributed to the educational opportunities of the other spouse.
4. Had a marriage of long duration and is of an age that may preclude the possibility of gaining employment adequate to be self-sufficient.
B. The maintenance order shall be in an amount and for a period of time as the
court deems just
, without regard to marital misconduct, and after considering all
relevant factors, including:
1. The standard of living established during the marriage.
2. The duration of the marriage.
3. The age, employment history, earning ability and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance.
4. The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet that spouse's needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.
5. The comparative financial resources of the spouses, including their comparative earning abilities in the labor market.
6. The contribution of the spouse seeking maintenance to the earning ability of the other spouse.
7. The extent to which the spouse seeking maintenance has reduced that spouse's income or career opportunities for the benefit of the other spouse.
8. The ability of both parties after the dissolution to contribute to the future educational costs of their mutual children.
9. The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to that spouse, and that spouse's ability to meet that spouse's own needs independently.
10. The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and whether such education or training is readily available.
11. Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.
12. The cost for the spouse who is seeking maintenance to obtain health insurance and the reduction in the cost of health insurance for the spouse from whom maintenance is sought if the spouse from whom maintenance is sought is able to convert family health insurance to employee health insurance after the marriage is dissolved.
13. All actual damages and judgments from conduct that
results RESULTED in
criminal conviction of either spouse in which the other spouse or child was the victim.
C. If both parties agree, the maintenance order and a decree of dissolution of marriage or of legal separation may state that its maintenance terms shall not be modified.
D. Except as provided in subsection C of this section or section 25-317, subsection G, the court shall maintain continuing jurisdiction over the issue of maintenance for the period of time maintenance is awarded.
Sec. 3. Section 25-320, Arizona Revised Statutes, is amended to read:
25-320. Child support; factors; methods of payment; additional enforcement provisions; definitions
A. In a proceeding for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or
child support, the court may order either or both parents owing a duty of support to a
child, born to or adopted by the parents, to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for
support of the child
, without regard to marital misconduct.
B. If child support has not been ordered by a child support order and if the court deems child support appropriate, the court shall direct, using a retroactive application of the child support guidelines to the date of filing a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or child support proceeding, the amount that the parents shall pay for the past support of the child and the manner in which payment shall be paid, taking into account any amount of temporary or voluntary support that has been paid. Retroactive child support is enforceable in any manner provided by law.
C. If the parties lived apart before the date of the filing for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or child support and if child support has not been ordered by a child support order, the court may order child support retroactively to the date of separation, but not more than three years before the date of the filing for dissolution of marriage, legal separation, maintenance or child support. The court must first consider all relevant circumstances, including the conduct or motivation of the parties in that filing and the diligence with which service of process was attempted on the obligor spouse or was frustrated by the obligor spouse. If the court determines that child support is appropriate, the court shall direct, using a retroactive application of the child support guidelines, the amount that the parents must pay for the past support of the child and the manner in which payments must be paid, taking into account any amount of temporary or voluntary support that has been paid.
D. The supreme court shall establish guidelines for determining the amount of child support. The amount resulting from the application of these guidelines is the amount of child support ordered unless a written finding is made, based on criteria approved by the supreme court, that application of the guidelines would be inappropriate or unjust in a particular case. The supreme court shall review the guidelines at least once every four years to ensure that their application results in the determination of appropriate child support amounts. The supreme court shall base the guidelines and criteria for deviation from them on all relevant factors, including:
1. The financial resources and needs of the child.
2. The financial resources and needs of the custodial parent.
3. The standard of living the child would have enjoyed had the marriage not been dissolved.
4. The physical and emotional condition of the child, and the child's educational needs.
5. The financial resources and needs of the noncustodial parent.
6. Excessive or abnormal expenditures, destruction, concealment or fraudulent disposition of community, joint tenancy and other property held in common.
7. The duration of parenting time and related expenses.
E. In the case of a mentally or physically disabled child, if the court, after considering the factors set forth in subsection D of this section, deems it appropriate, the court may order support to continue past the age of majority and to be paid to the custodial parent, guardian or child, even if at the date of separation, at the time of the filing of a petition or at the time of the final decree, the child has reached the age of majority.
F. If a child reaches the age of majority while the child is attending high school or a certified high school equivalency program, support shall continue to be provided during the period in which the child is actually attending high school or the equivalency program but only until the child reaches nineteen years of age unless the court enters an order pursuant to subsection E of this section. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a parent paying support for a child over the age of majority pursuant to this section is entitled to obtain all records related to the attendance of the child in the high school or equivalency program.
G. If a personal check for support payments and handling fees is rightfully dishonored by the payor bank or other drawee, the person obligated to pay support shall make any subsequent support payments and handling fees only by cash, money order, cashier's check, traveler's check or certified check. If a person required to pay support other than by personal check demonstrates full and timely payment for twenty-four consecutive months, that person may pay support by personal check if these payments are for the full amount, are timely tendered and are not rightfully dishonored by the payor bank or other drawee.
H. Subsection G of this section does not apply to payments made by means of an assignment.
I. If after reasonable efforts to locate the obligee the clerk or support payment clearinghouse is unable to deliver payments for the period prescribed in section 25-503 due to the failure of the person to whom the support has been ordered to be paid to notify the clerk or support payment clearinghouse of a change in address, the clerk or support payment clearinghouse shall not deliver further payments and shall return the payments to the obligor consistent with the requirements of section 25-503.
J. An order for child support shall assign responsibility for providing medical insurance for the child who is the subject of the support order and shall assign responsibility for the payment of any medical costs of the child that are not covered by insurance. In title IV-D cases, the parent responsible pursuant to court order for providing medical insurance for the child shall notify the support payment clearinghouse prescribed in section 46-441 if the child is no longer covered under an employer's insurance plan. The support payment clearinghouse shall notify the child support enforcement agency in the department of economic security of the lapse in insurance coverage.
K. In title IV-D cases the superior court shall accept for filing any documents that are received through electronic transmission if the electronically reproduced document states that the copy used for the electronic transmission was certified before it was electronically transmitted.
L. The court shall presume, in the absence of contrary testimony, that a noncustodial parent is capable of full-time employment at least at the federal adult minimum wage. This presumption does not apply to noncustodial parents who are under the age of eighteen and who are attending high school.
M. An order for support shall provide for an assignment pursuant to sections 25-504 and 25-323.
N. Each licensing board or agency that issues professional, recreational or occupational licenses or certificates shall record on the application the social security number of the applicant and shall enter this information in its database in order to aid the department of economic security in locating parents or their assets or to enforce child support orders. This subsection does not apply to a license that is issued pursuant to title 17 and that is not issued by an automated drawing system. If a licensing board or agency allows an applicant to use a number other than the social security number on the face of the license or certificate while the licensing board or agency keeps the social security number on file, the licensing board or agency shall advise an applicant of this fact.
O. For the purposes of this section:
1. "Child support guidelines" means the child support guidelines that are adopted by the state supreme court pursuant to 42 United States Code sections 651 through 669B.
2. "Date of separation" means the date the married parents ceased to cohabit.
3. "Support" has the same meaning prescribed in section 25-500.
4. "Support payments" means the amount of money ordered by the court to be paid for the support of the minor child or children.