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How to decide who gets the family home in a divorce

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2024 | Divorce |

Divorce can be tough, especially when it comes to deciding who gets the family home. Determining who keeps the house involves careful thought and understanding of Arizona’s laws.

If couples can not agree, divorce courts can decide. This avenue often leads to more conflict, so trying to make the decision in other ways is usually the better route. Learning what things courts look for may provide the motivation couples need to resolve this issue.

Arizona laws

In Arizona, marital property follows the rule of community property. This means that assets acquired during the marriage belong to both spouses equally, regardless of who earned or purchased them.

Negotiation and agreement

In some cases, spouses may negotiate and come to an agreement outside of court. Couples have various options. One spouse may buy out the other’s share of the home, allowing the remaining partner to retain ownership. Alternatively, they might agree to sell the home and divide the proceeds equitably.

Couples can also explore arrangements where one spouse continues to live in the home for a specified period, after which you can sell it or revisit ownership options. Communication and compromise are key to reaching a fair agreement.

Assessing contributions

When deciding who gets the family home, courts often consider each spouse’s contributions to its acquisition and maintenance. Contributions may include financial investments, as well as non-financial efforts such as renovations or childcare responsibilities.

Best interests of children

If couples have minor children, their well-being takes precedence. Courts may prioritize keeping the children in a stable environment, which could influence the decision regarding the family home.

Financial capability

Another factor to consider is each spouse’s financial ability to maintain the home after the divorce. This includes mortgage payments, property taxes and upkeep costs. If one spouse cannot afford these expenses alone, it may affect the court’s decision.


Mediation can be a helpful tool for divorcing couples to reach a fair decision about who keeps the family home. A neutral mediator can assist in facilitating productive discussions and finding mutually acceptable solutions so you can avoid letting the court make the determination.

If you are going through a divorce, it is important to remember that every family’s situation is different. Consider the various factors to help you make a fair decision regarding who gets the home in your divorce.