Facing an impending divorce can leave you with more questions than answers. If you and your spouse don't agree with one another about how to split up your assets or have a prenuptial agreement on record, the potential outcome of your divorce may be unclear. Each divorce is unique due to differing factors like the length of the marriage and the reason for divorce. That means that there's no accurate way to predict how the courts plan to divide your assets and debts.
You may not worry about minor possessions or your credit card bills as much as you worry about your marital home. It is a major possession that each spouse likely has an emotional attachment to after years of living there. Looking at Arizona's laws as well as the role of the home in your marriage can help you better understand the likely way the courts will handle your home.
Your house is one of your biggest marital assets
With the exception of investments and retirement accounts, your home is probably the single biggest asset you share with your spouse. The equity in your home likely represents a substantial amount of your marital income over the course of your marriage. It's perfectly reasonable to worry about receiving your fair share of that equity.
However, your spouse will also want a reasonable allocation of the home equity for the property. Arizona laws calls for division of community property between each spouse. In some cases, you may both want to retain ownership or tenancy in the home. That means that the courts will need to decide which of you can live there and who has to move out.
There are many ways for the courts to allocate your marital home
In some scenarios, the courts will award possession and tenancy of the home to one spouse. He or she will generally need to refinance the property. Doing so provides an opportunity to remove the other spouse from both the mortgage note and the deed to the home. It also allows for the withdrawal of some equity to ensure the other spouse receives a fair share. Many factors, such as income and child custody, could influence who gets to retain the marital home.
In situations where neither spouse can qualify for a mortgage on the property alone, the courts could order the same of the home. The same may be true for homes that have very little established equity. Each spouse will typically receive a fair share of the equity of the home. However, community property statutes may permit the courts to allocate a home's equity to one spouse and valuable assets of a similar value to the other without directly splitting the home's equity.