Will I Get Reimbursed if I Pay Community Expenses?

Divorce proceedings can take months, even years, to complete but that doesn’t mean life gets put on hold. Mortgages, vehicle loans and other community expenses still need to be paid throughout the proceedings.  The most common are:

  • Mortgage / Rent
  • Car loans
  • Utilities
  • Credit card payments
  • Insurance payments
  • Children’s extracurricular activities/private school

The question becomes, who is responsible to pay for these expenses while the divorce is going on and will they be reimbursed or compensated for what they paid.

In the case of Bobrow v. Bobrow, 239 Ariz. 480, the Court of Appeals held that “[a] spouse who voluntarily services community debt and maintains community assets with separate property should not be penalized when a mutual agreement cannot be reached”. When one spouse is making those payments, he or she must account for the monies spent in order to be reimbursed.

The above applies unless there are Temporary Orders entered by the Court, as those would be controlling in a particular case.  Temporary Orders are decisions the Judge made on issues that need more immediate attention and those Orders will stay in place until the final trial or settlement of the case.

Examples of issues commonly addressed in Temporary Orders are:

  • Temporary Child Custody or Legal Decision Making
  • Child support and/or spousal support (alimony)
  • Exclusive use of the marital home
  • Exclusive use of vehicles
  • Division of liquid assets

You don’t have to let your credit score tank just because of a divorce.  Voluntarily paying for customary expenses during the divorce shows the other spouse and the Court that you acting in good faith, you are being responsible, and that you are willing to work with your spouse to obtain the best outcome for your family.  And, the Court of Appeals has ruled that the paying spouse is entitled to be reimbursed for payment of community expenses paid with sole and separate funds.  So, keep track and account to get reimbursed and/or credit for the payments.

If you find yourself or a loved one facing a divorce and in need of a lawyer for a family law matter, please call OWENS & PERKINS at 480.994.8824 to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.