Divorce is rarely an easy process, but it can prove quite difficult for couples who must divide up significant assets, especially real estate. Owning a home is a strong step you may take as you build your assets, but when divorce comes knocking, determining which spouse keeps a marital home is often a major stumbling block along the way to a fair property division agreement.
To make matters potentially more complicated, Arizona uses community property laws to govern how spouses divide their marital property. The laws require spouses to split their property equally, allowing less room for negotiation. If you own a home and see divorce in Arizona on the horizon, it is wise to build a strong divorce strategy that protects your rights and interests, keeping these issues in mind.
Do you plan to keep the home at all?
If you and your spouse own a home, the first thing to consider as you approach divorce is whether keeping the home is an important priority. A household with two incomes often has a much easier time paying all of the bills that come with a home on time, as well as attending to needed maintenance, property taxes and the mortgage itself.
Before you waste valuable time and resources attempting to work out which spouse keeps your home, consider carefully whether this is feasible. A home may seem like a blessing until the person who ends up owning it must face all of the responsibilities that homeownership brings.
The role of children
Children have a strong impact on the outcome of any divorce, if they are dependent minors or need special care after reaching legal adulthood. In general, the spouse with primary custody of children also receives the family home. Courts tend to agree that a family home is important to raising children and provides them with needed stability in the middle of a very difficult season.
If you do not have children, then the house may serve a strong asset for negotiation, depending on the other property that you have to divide. Keep in mind that courts consider both assets and liabilities as part of marital property, so you must account for the debts you and your spouse must divide as well as your assets.
Navigating divorce in Arizona is more complicated than divorces in most other states, but it is still possible to reach fair, satisfying terms that allow you and your spouse to dissolve your marriage and move on respectfully. Make sure to build a strong divorce strategy that focuses on keeping your rights and priorities secure as you work through this difficult process toward a new season of life on the other side.