Navigating Divorce: Deciding the Fate of Your Home

Navigating Divorce: Deciding the Fate of Your Home

Divorce - Who Gets the House One of the hardest parts of any divorce is dividing assets. If you and your spouse own a home, it is likely one of the biggest assets you own which makes determining what to do with it particularly challenging. Deciding who gets the house is not only an emotionally challenging task but with inflation and rising interest rates, as well as other considerations like children or pets,  it can be fraught with financial and practical considerations as well. Below, we’ll take a look at the various options available to divorcing couples.

Understanding Community Property Laws in Arizona:

Arizona is a community property state, which means that anything you and your spouse own together during your marriage is considered to belong to both of you. Community property is divided equally, even if one of you earned it or bought it. This includes your house, even if only one of your names is on the deed, and even if only one of you made the mortgage payments. 

Factors That Influence the Who Gets the House in Divorce:

  • Custody Arrangements: If there are kids involved, the parent who gets primary custody is more likely to keep the house, since it provides stability for the kids.
  • Financial Situation: The financials of both spouses are key. The spouse who can afford the mortgage, property taxes, and upkeep might have a better shot at keeping the house.
  • Emotional Attachment: Emotional attachment to the home may also be considered. If one spouse has a stronger connection to the house, it might become a major negotiating point.
  • Equitable Division: Even though Arizona is a community property state, “equitable division” doesn’t always mean a 50-50 split. A fair split might involve taking into account the value of other assets, like retirement accounts or investments, when dividing up the house.

Options for Handling the Marital Home:

  • Sell the Home: This is the most straightforward option. The proceeds from the sale are divided between the spouses based on their ownership percentages.
  • Buyout: One spouse might buy out the other’s share of the house. This involves determining the value of the home and compensating the other spouse for their share.
  • Co-Ownership: Some couples choose to continue co-owning the property even after the divorce. This can be a temporary arrangement until the housing market is favorable for selling.
  • Deferred Sale: If there are children involved, the court might allow the custodial parent to stay in the home until a specified event triggers its sale, such as the youngest child reaching a certain age.

Divorce Mediation as a Solution

Divorce mediation is a less confrontational way to settle divorce issues than going to court. A mediator helps couples talk to each other and come to agreements on things like the house and other assets. It’s important to get professional advice when deciding what to do with your house during a divorce. The question of who gets the house is a complicated one that depends on a lot of factors. With the right guidance, couples can get through a divorce and come up with a solution that works for them.

About Oliver Ross

Oliver Ross, JD*, PhD founded Out-of-Court Solutions Inc. in 1995 and since then has mediated over 3,000 divorce and family matters. He is a select member of the Maricopa Superior Court Family Mediation roster