Who Keeps the House in an Arizona Divorce?

Scottsdale attorneys help work out ways to avoid sale of the family home

When married couples split up, their property is also divided. Usually, one of their major assets is the family home, which must be sold on the market or allocated to one of the spouses. If you want to know what goes into deciding who gets the house in an Arizona divorce and on what terms, Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. can help.

Arizona is a community property state

Community property law requires divorcing couples to equally most of their assets. In Arizona, generally speaking, a house is considered community property if the spouses acquire it during marriage. In most cases, an Arizona court will divide the house equally, which may require selling the home and splitting the net profits. However, there may be circumstances in which selling the home is undesirable, either for economic reasons or due to one spouse’s needs or preferences. In those events, the court may allow one spouse to keep the house in return for giving up cash and/or other assets.

What factors may influence who gets the house?

The decision on who gets your house depends on a number of factors:

  • Who purchased the home and what was the source of funds
  • Where the money to pay the mortgage and other expenses comes from
  • Whether you or your spouse are willing to give up other property to keep the home
  • Whether you or your spouse tried to conceal, destroy or damage other property
  • Whether there are children who would benefit from being raised in the house

Many times, an agreement can be reached that lets one spouse keep the house. A Scottsdale divorce attorney can represent you in your effort to retain the home and to work out acceptable terms.

Who stays in the house until divorce is final?

If you have children, the court will generally allow the parent who spends the most time with the children to remain in the marital home. If you don’t have children but own the house, you can ask your spouse to leave. If you co-own the house, neither of you has the right to force the other one to leave, unless one of you committed domestic violence and the judge issues a restraining order. We will work to protect your right to stay in the house to the extent necessary and legally permissible.

What happens if you already moved out?

If you move out of the house voluntarily during a legal separation, the court will likely maintain the status quo, unless it has a good reason to change it. If you own the house, are the primary caregiver for the children or are the victim of a domestic assault, the court might let you back in. If you were forced to leave a house you co-own, the police can provide assistance. If you are in this situation, we can advise you and pursue any options you have.

Cashflow may influence who gets the home

If you make a good living and the marital residence is community property, you might be able to negotiate a deal in which you essentially buy out your spouse’s interest in the house. You may have to pay the mortgage, property taxes and other expenses and will probably need to pay your spouse a share of the equity, perhaps over a period of time. We can discuss the buy-out option with you in detail and try to negotiate a deal if you want.

Contact committed Arizona divorce attorneys for a consultation

For help in getting the house in a divorce, call Clark & Schloss Family Law, P.C. at 602-789-3497 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our office, located on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale.