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Dividing the Home in a Divorce

Your home may be the largest asset in your divorce. It also is usually one of the most emotionally important assets because you have a history there and may still have children in the home. The home is symbolic of your marriage and your security and as such it can be hard to make decisions about it.

Because Arizona is a community property state, the assets of your marriage divided equally. Your marital home is a community property asset if it was bought during the marriage. It may also be community property if it was bought prior to the marriage and both spouses contributed to its upkeep and payments during the marriage.

Who gets the house is often a hot point and the decision may come down to who can afford to keep the home. If one spouse can refinance the mortgage, it may make sense for her to keep the home. Of course, the other spouse is still entitled to half its value, which is distributed through other assets.

If you can’t afford to keep the home, you may be able to do so if you receive spousal support from your ex after the divorce, or if you receive enough other property in the divorce to enable you to afford the mortgage payments.

If neither one of you is able to take on sole responsibility for the home, it’s possible to co-own it. This could be a temporary situation until it increases in value enough to be sold, or you might decide to co-own it until the children move out as adults.

If you can’t agree about what to do with the home, the court will consider custody of the children, which one of you is presently in the home, how other property is being divided, and what your financial resources will be after the divorce.

The Sampair Group is your firm for divorce or family law matters. Make an appointment with one of our knowledgeable attorneys in Maricopa County today.

Why You Might Not Want to Keep the Home

The marital home may feel hugely important to you. Not only is it the place you’ve chosen to live, the nest you’ve feathered, and the repository of all your perfectly positioned stuff, it may also be your children’s home. Giving all that up and turning your world (and possibly your children’s world) upside down may seem like the very last thing you want to do. Many couples fight over who should get the home, but instead of fighting for it, maybe you should consider letting go of it.

While there are so many reasons to keep the marital home yourself, there are also many reasons why keeping the home may in fact end up being a bad idea.

  • Financially: While you are married there is X amount of money coming in as income for the family. This pays for all of the expenses. When you divorce the amount of money coming remains the same, but it now has to pay for two households. If you maintain the previous expenses then add on the costs of your ex having a separate residence, there simply may not be enough money to cover both, no matter how you juggle spousal maintenance and child support. Keeping the home may end up with you taking out even more debt to maintain it. And if you can’t keep up with the debt, you will damage your credit report and could potentially lose the home.
  • Emotionally: Remaining in the same home where you were married can create a huge emotional burden on you and on your children. There are a lot of memories in that house and nothing is ever going to be the same again. Sometimes a fresh start is a good thing for everyone.

When you need advice you can trust, contact the Sampair Group in Phoenix, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale and the West Valley today to schedule your appointment. Our attorneys will give your case careful consideration.

What To Do If You Can’t Afford Divorce

frustrated woman looking at billsIf you’ve decided your marriage is over and you are ready to get a divorce, financial considerations are an important part of the steps you will take in moving forward. The decision to divorce is based on what is happening in your relationship and there may be no question that your life together is over and you need to move on. Being able to afford to do so can be a challenge.

It can be shocking to realize the impact a divorce is going to have on your financial life. While most people are prepared for the actual costs of the divorce procedure itself, it can be stunning to realize that you may not be able to afford life after the divorce. Staying in the marital home can be impossible, yet might seem absolutely necessary if you have children. If you feel like you can’t afford to get divorced, consider these options.

–          First, talk to an attorney and a mediator. The actual divorce can be handled very inexpensively if you can mediate it or come to a fast settlement. The savings here may give you more options for your future.

–          Ask your attorney to go over all of the choices available when it comes to the home, if that is the big expense that can’t be accommodated. There are a variety of choices you might not have considered (you could live in the home together, rent it, sell it, or take turns living there with the kids while having a small place elsewhere).

–          Many people find that they need to borrow money, either from family or through a home equity, to get them through the financial shock of a divorce. This may not be in your plans, but it could offer you the assistance you need.

–          Create a written budget for your post-divorce life. Compare it to your income (factoring in whatever is going to happen with child support and spousal maintenance). Often the actual budget is quite different from what you were imagining.

Call the Sampair Group for help with your divorce or family law case. We regularly represent clients in Mesa, Glendale, and Phoenix and are ready to provide the representation you need.

Separating Needs from Wants in Divorce Negotiations

sticky noteWhen you first begin to think about how your marital property will be divided, the entire process can feel overwhelming. Since you are each entitled to half of the community property from your marriage, choices will have to be made. The type of property you end up with can affect your future financial life, as well as your everyday life today.

One of the first things you should do is make a list of all the property that is to be divided. There will be big assets, like your home, retirement accounts, cars, and bank accounts. There will also be smaller items such as household furnishings and collectibles. Because your assets will need to be divided in half, it’s important to assign a dollar value to each item on the list (your attorney can help you with this). You will need to total the complete value of all assets.

Now make two columns next to the list. One is labelled “Need” and one is labelled “Want.” Needs are things you cannot live without. Wants are things you would like to have, but can live without if necessary. Go through the list and place a checkmark in one of the two columns for each item. Total your want column. If it comes out to roughly half, you are in a good position. If the want column is too high, look at your need column. If this is roughly half, you may need to go with this list. If both lists are more than half of the total value of all assets, it’s time to completely reassess your wants and needs. It’s important to go over these lists with your attorney to make sure that values are accurate and also that you are actually planning to ask for things that will truly benefit you.

The Sampair Group handles divorce and family law cases in the Mesa, Phoenix, and Glendale areas of Arizona. Our skilled attorneys are here to help you with your case. Call us today.

Should You Move Out of the Marital Home?

boxesPerhaps the entire point of a divorce is to be able to end your relationship and live separately from your spouse. Most people who want a divorce want that physical separation. If you are living with your spouse and desperately want to move out, there are some important things to consider.

Before you do anything, you must talk to your attorney. Moving out of the marital home can have long-term implications for every aspect of your case. If you move out and leave the children behind, you can damage your chances of becoming the residential parent. Judges prefer to keep kids in their own home when possible.

Moving out of the home can also impact your chances of being awarded ownership of the home in the divorce. Courts are more likely to award the marital home to the spouse who is living in it. Moving out can also impact spousal maintenance. If you earn more than your spouse, moving out leaves him or her in a home with no way to pay the bills. You may be ordered to begin paying temporary maintenance which can lead to permanent maintenance.

Physical separation can be completely necessary, particularly if there is domestic abuse or fear of domestic abuse. Keeping yourself and your children safe is probably more important to you than financial matters. If abuse is a concern, you must discuss this with your attorney. It is possible your spouse could be ordered to move out.

The Sampair Group represents men and women in divorce and family law cases in the Mesa, Phoenix, and Glendale areas of Arizona. Our skilled attorneys are ready to discuss all of your concerns with you in a straightforward and honest way. Call us today.

Should You Get a Mortgage After Divorce?

BANKAs your divorce reaches its conclusion, you are likely making plans for your future. You’re ready to move on and often part of that is finding a home to buy. Buying a new home can signal a fresh start and independence. However, jumping into a mortgage during or soon after your divorce may be a bad idea.

You may find, after spending time searching for homes, and even after placing a deposit, that you do not qualify for a mortgage. How is this possible if your income is high enough and you have a good credit rating? If your name is still on the mortgage for the marital home, you are likely to run into problems. Even if your divorce has made your spouse responsible for that mortgage, you are still liable to the bank for the marital mortgage and taking on another mortgage will be viewed as risky by banks. If this is the case, talk to your attorney about your options for getting your name off that first mortgage.

Taking out a mortgage soon after a divorce may also not make sense until your financial situation has time to settle. You may not even have a good sense of what your monthly income and expenses truly are at this time of flux. You also may be paying child support or spousal maintenance for the first time which will greatly impact your finances. Most experts suggest waiting six months to a year before doing something as serious as taking on a mortgage.

When considering your plans for the future, be sure to get solid advice from your legal team. The Sampair Group is not only your divorce team, but your advisors. We represent clients in Maricopa County. Call us for an appointment with one of our knowledgeable attorneys now.

Divorce with Adult Children Living at Home

KnockingWhen people talk about kids and divorce, they generally mean children under 18. But when you divorce with kids, there are guidelines for how to divide your time and organize things so that the best interests of the children are taken care of. More and more parents are now divorcing with adult children still living at home. In fact, the Pew Research Center reports that 36% of adults ages 18 to 36 live at home with their parents. When those parents divorce, it has an impact on the adult children, but there are no rules or guidelines in place to help navigate the situation.

Adult children don’t need a visitation schedule or to have someone named as their residential parent, but there most definitely are things that need to be worked out.

  • Where will the child live? Will he stay in the marital home if one of the parents is keeping it? Is it time for the child to find her own place? If both parents are moving, will the child move with one of them? You need to discuss the options with your child.
  • How will expenses be handled? Many Millennials live at home to save money or because they can’t afford a place of their own, but a divorce means the family’s resources are spread thin and it may be time for an adult child to begin to contribute financially for household expenses.
  • How should you talk to your child about the divorce? While your child is no longer a kid, some of the same general parenting rules do apply about a divorce. It’s not fair to put your child in the middle, to speak badly of the other parent, or to ask him to pick sides. Don’t let your adult child become your champion or your enemy. Try to keep the divorce separate from your parent-child relationship.

The Sampair Group is ready to answer all of your questions about divorce and help you choose the path that is best for you. We are conveniently located in Maricopa County and are ready to advise you. Call us today.