Who gets the house in a divorce in AZ?
For most divorcing couples, their home is the biggest asset they own, so both spouses are naturally anxious as to what will become of their home, the mortgage, and the equity in the house.
Arizona is a community property state, which means that anything either of you acquire during the marriage belongs to both of you equally. Assuming you bought the home together during your marriage, the house belongs to each of you in equal shares. If the house was a gift or inherited, or one spouse owned the home before marriage, the division can get more complicated. For simplicity, we will walk you through common questions regarding the division of a house purchased during the marriage.
How is a house divided in divorce?
A house will be divided either by selling it or having one spouse buy out the other spouse’s interest.
Buy Out. If one spouse wants to stay in the house, they must buy out the other spouse’s share of the equity and will need to refinance it solely in their name. For example, if the house is worth $400,000.00, and the parties owe $200,000.00, then the parties have $200,000.00 in equity, which belongs equally to both spouses. That means the spouse keeping the resident must pay $100,000.00 to the other spouse to buy out their interest.
Generally, the buyout occurs through refinancing the house. As part of the new loan, the lender will pay the buyout and include it in the new mortgage.
Sell. The parties can also agree to sell the house and split the net equity (the amount left over after paying off the existing mortgage, realtor fees, repairs, and other closing costs).
When You Can’t Agree on What to Do with the Home
We can’t agree …
… on whether to buy or sell the house. Then the Court will decide what to do with the house. This will require a trial. Most likely, a Court will order it sold.
… on how much the home is worth. Then you’ll need to get it appraised and go with appraiser’s amount.
… on an appraiser? Then each of you will need to get your own appraisal and let the Court decide what the actual value is. This will require a trial.
… on when to sell the house? You want to make sure you have deadlines in your Divorce Decree. Typically, a house should be sold or refinanced within 60 days of the divorce being finalized.