Who Keeps the House in a Divorce in Arizona
Deciding Who Keeps the House in a Divorce in Arizona
If you are facing a divorce, you may be asking who keeps the house in a divorce in Arizona. A judge in an Arizona divorce is required to equitably divide all community property; although not necessarily in kind. This means the court has to equally divide the value of all of the community property but does not necessarily have to divide each particular asset equally.
For example, it is impossible to equally divide a house. Instead, the house is either sold with the parties equally dividing the proceeds from the sale of that home or the judge awards the house to one of the spouses and then gives the other spouse other property that equals the equity in the home.
What Happens When Only One Spouse Wants to Keep the House in a Divorce in Arizona
If only one spouse wants to keep the house in a divorce in Arizona, the home will almost always be awarded to that spouse. However, there will likely be conditions on the award of the house to the spouse who wants to keep it after divorce. For example, a spouse who wants to keep the house after an Arizona divorce should be prepared to refinance the home to remove the other spouse’s name from the mortgage on the home.
If the house is not refinanced some pretty unfortunate things can occur. One thing that can occur if the mortgage is not refinanced is that it will be included on both spouse’s credit reports and, therefore, may prevent the other spouse from purchasing a new home.
The other problem that occurs if a home is not refinanced is the opportunity for the spouse who kept the home to damage his or her ex-spouse’s credit by failing to make timely payments on the house.
Interestingly, the court does not, absent an agreement of both spouses, have the authority to order a spouse to refinance a mortgage, pursuant to the case of Lee v. Lee. Although that may sound like a good way to keep your spouse on the hook for the mortgage if the house is awarded to one of the spouses, it typically will not work because the judge will simply order the house to be sold if the spouse who wants to keep the house does not volunteer to refinance the mortgage.
What Happens When Both Spouses Want to Keep the House in a Divorce in Arizona
Things get a lot stickier when both spouses want to be awarded the house. Although Arizona laws do not allow child custody decisions to control who is awarded the house when both parents want to keep the house after an Arizona divorce, the reality is a judge is more likely to award the home to the parent who has a majority of time with the children in his or her care.
So, what happens if the parents have an equal parenting time schedule? In that case, there is really no compelling way for the court to choose which parent should be awarded the home in an Arizona divorce. One way to break a deadlock between parents is to have them bid against each other until one of the spouses concedes. This isn’t a very cordial approach to deciding who gets the house, but the parents are probably embroiled in a contentious divorce anyway if they cannot agree on who will keep the house after the divorce.
Pros and Cons of Keeping the House in an Arizona Divorce
As a divorce attorney with over 24 years of experience, I would ask why do you want to keep the house after the divorce. Although not legal advice, I suggest every client move to a new house and away from all of the memories, good and bad, attached to the marital home.
That approach, however, is admittedly a little short-sided because it doesn’t consider the impact a move will have on the children. Providing stability for the children by keeping the house in a divorce may or may not be a compelling reason to keep the house in your divorce.
You will also want to consider whether the house is too expensive for you to keep. Most couples can afford much more of a house payment than either parent on their own could afford. Finances may, therefore, dictate who keeps the house in a divorce in Arizona.
Arizona Community Property Attorneys
If you need information about who keeps the house in a divorce in Arizona, you should seriously consider contacting the attorneys at Hildebrand Law, PC. Our Arizona community property attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience successfully representing clients in divorce cases in Arizona.
Our family law firm has earned numerous awards such as US News and World Reports Best Arizona Family Law Firm, US News and World Report Best Divorce Attorneys, “Best of the Valley” by Arizona Foothills readers, and “Best Arizona Divorce Law Firms” by North Scottsdale Magazine.
Call us today at (480)305-8300 or reach out to us through our appointment scheduling form to schedule your personalized consultation and turn your Arizona community property case around today.
Arizona Family Law Attorneys in Scottsdale and Tucson Arizona
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Chris Hildebrand wrote the information on this page about who keeps the house in a divorce in Arizona to ensure everyone has access to information about family law in Arizona. Chris is a divorce and family law attorney at Hildebrand Law, PC. He has over 24 years of Arizona family law experience and has received multiple awards, including US News and World Report “Top Arizona Divorce Attorneys”, Phoenix Magazine “Top Divorce Law Firms”, and Arizona Foothills Magazine “Best of the Valley” award. He believes the policies and procedures he uses to get his clients through a divorce should all be guided by the principles of honesty, integrity, and, quite frankly, actually caring about what his clients are going through in a divorce or family law case. In short, his practice is defined by the success of his clients. He also manages all of the other attorneys at his firm to make sure the outcomes in their clients’ cases are successful as well.