If one person in Arizona hopes to keep the home in a divorce, that person should treat the process with the same diligence that would be used in purchasing a new home. Emotional reasons, especially if there are children, often influence this decision, but it is important to make sure it is a good financial move.
First, it is necessary to get a sense of what the home is worth. While an appraiser can do this, it may be an expensive process. Quicker and less costly alternatives are a broker price opinion or a comparative market analysis. Since Arizona is a community property state, in most cases, each spouse will own 50% of the equity. If a person has more than this on hand, it might be possible to reduce the mortgage. However, the mortgage may be bigger if the person has to use cash from the home for the buyout.
Deciding what to do with the family home can be one of the major roadblocks in the divorce process, so if the two are able to reach an agreement and get the home refinanced early on, this can reduce conflict. It can also make budgeting easier for the homeowner. However, refinancing before the final settlement can mean that the interest rates will be higher.
Sometimes, one person may want to keep the home, but it may not be possible financially. In addition to paying the mortgage on one salary, the person may also need to account for taxes, utilities and repairs. However, selling the home is not always a simple process either. It might take time, and in the meantime, the two may need to decide whether one will continue living there or if they will rent it out. Property division may also mean deciding what to do about retirement accounts and other investments.