Who Keeps the Home in a Divorce?
Who Gets the House?
In Arizona, there are two types of property when it comes to marriage and divorce: community property and separate property. Community property, typically all property acquired during the marriage, is split evenly upon divorce. Separate property, typically property acquired before the marriage, will remain with the spouse who originally purchased it. There are exceptions to these, and separate property can potentially become commingled with community property.
Should You Keep the House in a Divorce?
If the house is your separate property, you can keep it in the divorce. There are many reasons you may want to keep the house in a divorce, even if it is community property. The most common of these is because your children lived in that home during the marriage, and you want to keep things as close to normal as possible. While your children will have to adjust to new routines with the other parent, keeping the home will allow you to provide a place of familiar comfort. You may also have other ideas for the home after the divorce, like moving in your parents or other relatives. You may simply not want to move. No matter your reason, keeping the house will likely be a hotly-contested issue in your divorce.
What if you can’t afford the House without the Spouse’s income?
You should talk to a family law attorney, who should be able to project if you will be receiving any support from your spouse after the divorce. Depending on a variety of factors, like length of the marriage, the difference in earnings between the spouses, and the standard of living during the marriage, the judge may order one spouse to pay spousal support, or alimony, to the other spouse. IF the couple shares children, the parent with less parenting time may be ordered to pay child support. Both of these payments can be used towards the mortgage and other expenses related to keeping the house.
What are some options of what to do with the marital home?
Sometimes, the easiest thing to do is to just sell the home and split the proceeds between the couple. The judge may order this if there is no other fair way to split the community property and the spouses can’t come to their own agreement. If one spouse is entitled to more equity in the house, the judge may award that spouse the house and give the other spouse other marital assets, or order the spouse keeping the house to “buy out” the other spouse’s share.
Dividing Equity in the Marital Home
When one spouse wants to keep a community property marital home, the judge can order the equity to be divided to find a solution besides selling the home and splitting the proceeds. To make up for the equity in the home one spouse would be surrendering, the spouse keeping the home may be required to pay more or all of the marital debt the couple previously shared. If the couple shared assets like vehicles, investment properties, and more listed below, more of those could be awarded to the spouse who isn’t keeping the house. The spouse keeping the home can also give the other spouse the cash value of their share of equity, or “buy them out.” That way, the rest of the assets can be divided evenly without regard for the value of the marital home.
What Factors will the Court Use in Order to Determine Who Gets the house?
The court will look at multiple factors when deciding who should be awarded the house. These include the financial circumstances of each spouse, their education and employability, their age and general health, contributions to the marital home, who is going to have custody of any shared children, marital misconduct, how the house was purchased, and the value of the house.
Marital Assets will commonly be split between the 2 divorcing spouses in Arizona. It is important to know what makes up “Marital Assets”. Thus, there are no surprises
Common examples of Marital Assets
- The marital home
- Vehicles purchased during the marriage
- Pensions and other retirement benefits earned during the marriage
- Vacation and investment properties
- Jewelry, instruments, and other personal assets purchased during the marriage
- Stocks and other investments
Common examples of Marital Debts
- Credit Cards
- Vehicle loans
- Student loans
- Personal debt
- Medical bills
- Business debt
Let Our Phoenix Divorce Attorneys Help
Our Arizona family law attorneys have helped numerous clients in Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, and throughout Arizona with messy and hotly contested divorces. Our divorce attorneys are aggressive and fight for you. We ensure that you are not bullied by the other side. If you are going through a divorce in Arizona, it is extremely important that you have an experienced Arizona Divorce Attorney on your side. Our Arizona family law firm and its lawyers will give you the peace of mind you are looking for in such a difficult situation.
My AZ Lawyers
Office: (480) 833-8000
Scottsdale Family Law Office
Avondale Family Law Office
12725 W. Indian School Rd, Ste E-101
Avondale, AZ 85392
Mesa Family Law Office
1731 W. Baseline Rd., Ste 100
Mesa, AZ 85202
Glendale Family Law Office
20325 N. 51st Ave., Ste 134
Glendale, AZ 85308
Additional Blog Postings at: