Reposted Arizona Republic column.
Divorce can create retitling challenge
From time to time, I work with clients facing challenges from asset-titling issues in previous divorces. In a divorce, assets are usually divided between the spouses, resulting in retitling of assets into a spouse’s sole name and updating beneficiaries after the divorce. One problem arises when a divorce decree does not adequately describe the asset being awarded to a spouse and the former spouse later refuses to cooperate in retitling or selling that asset.
Recently, a vehicle, which at the time of the divorce was jointly titled, was awarded to one spouse. The divorce decree referred only to “1990 Toyota Four Runner” and made no mention of the year or vehicle identification number.
The spouse awarded title to the vehicle attempted to sell it. The former spouse refused to sign the title and the Motor Vehicle Division refused to transfer title because the vehicle was so vaguely described in the decree. To solve this problem, the spouse awarded the vehicle needs to file a motion with the court to amend the decree to specifically describe the vehicle by year and vehicle ID number so that the Motor Vehicle Division will place it in the spouse’s own name.
The repercussions of poorly drafted divorce decrees are felt in many areas, including estate planning.
The most common impact is on clients creating a living trust where the goal is to retitle assets, known as funding, into the name of the trust. Assets held in joint names of former spouses can’t be retitled.
I strongly suggest that the drafters of divorce decrees identify assets as specifically as possible in order for the asset to be sold or retitled without the cooperation of the former spouse.
From the Arizona Republic 03/21/2014, Page B05 – by Attorney Louis Silverman
Register Foreign Orders (RFO)
Packets to register out-of-state (foreign) family court orders are now available for purchase at all Maricopa County Superior Court Self-Service Center locations or to download for free online at www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/ssc under Family Court forms. There are separate packets to register out-of-state custody orders and out-of-state orders for family support (spousal maintenance and/or child support), as well as papers to request a hearing to object to the registration or certain limited aspects of the order to be registered.
Once registered, support orders may be enforced just as if the order was issued in Arizona, but if one of the parties remains in and has never moved from the state where the order was issued, the registering party will not be able to modify the order in Arizona. Jurisdictional requirements must also be met before Arizona can enforce custody, or modify either custody or support.
- A filing fee is required to register a custody order.
- No fee is required to register a support order.
- After registration, normal post-decree filing fees for modification or enforcement apply.
- A fee is required to request a hearing to object to registration except on the basis of lack of jurisdiction.
The Maricopa Co. Superior Court Youtube site has a new video:
“How to Get a Default Decree in Family Court”
A default decree is given by the court when the other party does not respond to an initial petition.
When using the Self Service Center forms packets (see below) to start a new case the default decree is usually in step 3 after filing and service.
“When the Other Party Does Not Respond – Court forms and instructions to apply for a default hearing in court when the other party does not respond in writing to the court.”
Below are the initial Family Court forms packets available at the Self Service Center.
Contact the Law Library if you need more information.