Married couples often decide to buy homes together. The average household could spend as much as a third of its members’ monthly income on the mortgage and even more on upkeep and improvements for the property. Married couples may view their shared home as their biggest and most valuable asset, which means that they will almost certainly worry about what will happen to their home if they decide to divorce.
There are usually three separate issues related to a marital home that a couple will need to resolve by the end of the property division process. These are the primary concerns that they will have to agree on about their marital home or a judge will need to make a determination based on their perception of what is most fair under the circumstances.
Possession of the property
For some people, possessing the home or securing the legal right to continue living there after the divorce is the most important aspect of their divorce. They view continued possession as necessary for their children or as the only way that they can remain a homeowner. Determining who will actually stay in the property can often be the most challenging part of the property division process for homeowners planning a divorce, especially as it may happen early in the process.
Legal ownership of the property
During the initial stages of divorce when couples separate but technically remain married, both of them will usually still be on the title for the property. However, the divorce decree will often determine that one spouse will own the home going forward while the other must give up their interest in the property. Therefore, they will need to execute a deed rescinding their interest in the home, a process that can be emotional and stressful for someone concerned about what they have invested in the property.
Financial responsibility for the home
The final obligation will be securing new financing in the name of the spouse retaining ownership and possession of the property. That can often prove a challenge, especially if they must withdraw equity from the home to compensate their spouse for part of its value.
Possession, legal ownership and financial responsibility all influence how couples handle real property in an Arizona divorce. Those who recognize that they don’t necessarily need to stay in their home to receive their community property share of its value may have an easier time compromising as they negotiate a property division settlement and address their biggest assets, including their homes.