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Can moving out of a home affect property division during divorce?

On Behalf of | May 11, 2024 | Divorce

There’s a lot of misinformation floating around about divorce proceedings. Many people in Arizona have heard stories about divorce that either reflect heavily-exaggerated details or rules that technically only apply in other states.

Divorce laws in Arizona are different than elsewhere, meaning that stories from a divorce in New York or California have little bearing on what might occur in an Arizona divorce. People who have inaccurate information about what transpires during a divorce can make mistakes in how they handle the process.

For example, someone who doesn’t understand the Arizona property division process might tell an individual preparing for divorce that moving out of their home is the equivalent of abandoning it. It is common for people to assert that leaving the shared marital residence means that someone has effectively given up their right to the property. Thankfully, a temporary relocation during divorce does not terminate someone’s interest in their marital home.

What happens with home equity during a divorce?

In all but the rarest of cases, spouses cannot usually tolerate continued joint ownership of their marital home after a divorce. The options available for addressing the home include selling the house to split the proceeds or allowing one spouse to keep the home.

Given that Arizona is a community property state, each spouse should receive half of the accumulated equity in the home or other assets worth a comparable value. If someone makes the difficult decision to leave their marital home during the divorce process to reduce conflict, they do not give up their interest in home equity.

They have spent years contributing toward mortgage payments and home upkeep. They still have a right to request their fair share of equity, especially if they continue to contribute financially toward the home’s maintenance during the divorce.

People worried about protecting their most valuable assets may want to sit down and discuss their financial circumstances and living arrangements with a skilled legal team to better plan for the future. Remaining in one’s marital home until the end of the divorce is not necessary for a fair property division decree in an Arizona divorce. Spouses who understand the rules that govern asset distribution can make more informed choices as they prepare for divorce.