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How should I address the family home in my divorce?

Arizona is a community property state. This means that assets that are acquired during marriage are considered to be jointly owned. As a result, when you divorce, it’s anticipated that those assets will be divided equally. That doesn’t prevent you, however, from negotiating a property division settlement that is fair to you and your spouse, even if it deviates from a straight 50/50 split of the marital assets. The family home is often a subject of this type of negotiation.

For many, fighting for the family home is crucial to their future. They’ve attached sentimental value to the home, and they don’t want to take the time and spend the resources to look for new housing arrangements. Many custodial parents want to keep the family home to provide stability and consistency for their children. But before you give up other marital assets in exchange for the family home, you need to carefully consider whether doing so is really in your best interests.

The risks of advocating for the family residence

Fighting to retain the family home may not be the best move for you and your children. Here are some of the considerations you need to take into account before you make a decision about how you’re going to handle this marital asset:

  • Mortgage costs: If you keep the family home, then you’ll have to find a way to pay your monthly mortgage payment using your sole income. Although you might be able to refinance the mortgage to reduce your monthly payment, keeping up with your mortgage after divorce can be difficult.
  • Maintenance costs: Keeping your home in good repair can be costly. A new roof alone can cost several thousands of dollars that you might not have banked. As a result, you could be one home issue away from financial trouble. Can you afford to wind up in that position?
  • Other assets: To secure the family home, you’re going to have to give up other marital assets in exchange or buyout your spouse. This could be a mistake. For example, if you give up retirement assets, then you might be cutting yourself short on retirement funds if you don’t have time to replenish them. And if you’re buying out your spouse from their half of the home, then you could leave yourself without the financial resources you need to stabilize yourself post-divorce.

What are your options?

Although you can negotiate for the family home, you might want to consider using it as a bargaining chip to get other assets out of your divorce. You could also discuss selling the residence and splitting the profits with your spouse. This might give you the influx of cash you need to find stability once your divorce is finalized. Be creative here and find the resolution that makes the most sense for you.

Zealously advocate for the divorce outcome that you deserve

There are countless different ways to approach your divorce. You need to find the one that works best for you. That might be difficult to do given the rippling effects of each decision, which can be hard to see when you’re so close to the dispute. But that’s why many Arizonans seek legal representation to help them with their case. By reading up on divorce and the property division process, you’ll be better positioned to decide what kind of approach you want to take to your marriage dissolution.