Centuori & Alcoverde, P.C.

Faced with the reality of a divorce, many Arizona spouses are unsure about what to do with the family home. In many cases, neither party can afford the property on their own. For others, the family home has become a symbol of what has been lost, and both spouses would prefer to walk away from the property entirely. Understanding how the sale of a home ties into the family law process can guide couples toward the best possible solutions for their situations.

One factor that must be taken into consideration is the home's current value. When a couple purchases a home, they often do so with the intent to remain in the property for many years. That intention allows for a degree of protection against the fluctuations of the local real estate market. Because the couple intends to stay put for a lengthy period of time, it becomes easier to weather ups and downs in the market. After all, real estate tends to appreciate in value over time, which is why it is such an attractive investment option.

During a divorce, however, the timeline of a sale may be beyond the control of either party. That leaves both sides vulnerable to the conditions of the current real estate market. For example, if the local market is in a decline, the home will not be worth as much as it would be during healthier market conditions. One of the things that has a drastic impact on a home's appraised value involves recent sales data from nearby homes. If there are a number of foreclosures or short sales in that mix, the value of all nearby homes will decrease.

Spouses who are facing a home sale in an unfavorable real estate market should consider all available family law options. In some cases, an agreement can be reached in which one party remains in the home for a period of time, giving the market a chance to improve before initiating a sale. An Arizona divorce settlement can include language that specifies each party's obligations in regards to maintaining the house prior to putting the property on the market, in addition to the length of time before such a sale becomes necessary.

Source: dailyrepublic.com, "Divorce and the family home", Nicole Solari, Oct. 15, 2016

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