Selling The Family Home During Divorce: Questions To Ask If The Decision Is Right For You

Excerpt from Divorce in Arizona by Marlene Pontrelli and Robert Schwartz

One of the first issues that often arises during a divorce is what to do with the family home.  Selling your home is a big decision. To help you decide what is right for you, ask yourself these questions:

  • What will be the impact (positive or negative) on my children if the home is sold?
  • Can I afford to stay in the house after the divorce?
  • After the divorce, will I be willing to give the house and yard the time, money and physical energy required for its maintenance?
  • Is it necessary for me to sell the house to pay a share of the equity to my spouse, or are there other options?
  • Would my life be easier if I were in a smaller or simpler home?
  • Would I prefer to move closer to the support of friends and family?
  • What is the state of the housing market in my community?
  • What are the benefits of remaining in this house?
  • Can I retain the existing mortgage or will I have to refinance?
  • Will I have a higher or lower interest rate if I sell the house and buy a new one?
  • Can I see myself living in a different home?
  • Will I have the means to acquire another home?
  • If I don’t retain the home and my spouse asks for it, what effect will this have on my custody case?
  • Will my spouse agree to the sale of the house?
  • What will be the real estate commission?
  • What will be the costs of preparing the house for sale?

Selling a home is more than just a legal or financial decision. Consider what is important to you in creating your life after divorce when deciding whether to sell your home.

About the Authors:

Marlene Pontrelli is a Member in our Phoenix office and co-chair of the firm’s Family Law Practice. Marlene is a certified specialist in family law. Her practice focuses on all aspects of family law including dissolution, post-dissolution, paternity, child custody and child support matters. She is admitted to practice in California and Arizona. She is a judge pro tem for the Superior Court of Maricopa County in family law. She has extensive trial and appellate experience including appearing before the Arizona Court of Appeals, Arizona Supreme Court and Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Ms. Pontrelli has written several books, including as a co-author of the Divorce in Arizona book. She is a frequent lecturer in the area of family law and has conducted workshops throughout the country. Ms. Pontrelli is also an adjunct professor at The Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law at Arizona State University, where she teaches the family law class. Marlene may be reached in our Phoenix office at 602-285-5081.

Bob Schwartz is a Member in our Phoenix office. Bob has been practicing law for over 40 years, specializing in family law. He is a member of the American, Arizona and Maricopa County Bar Associations. He is admitted to practice in the federal courts of New York, Arizona, Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Mr. Schwartz is a fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and past president of the Arizona chapter. He serves as a judge pro tem for the Superior Court of Maricopa County in family court matters. He is a certified family law specialist by the State Bar of Arizona; is a frequent lecturer on family law and related matters; and, former member of the State Bar Family Law Advisory Commission. Mr. Schwartz has tried numerous complex business valuation cases as well as complex custody cases. He has testified as an expert in family law matters. Bob co-authored the Divorce in Arizona book. He may be reached in our Phoenix office at 602-285-5020.

If you would like a courtesy copy of Divorce in Arizona please contact us directly as well as Marlene’s book Daily Meditations for Healing from Divorce.