Going through a divorce can be a difficult and emotional process. One of the most complex and contentious aspects of divorce is dividing property. We get a lot of questions on this matter, like “How is property divided in a divorce?” and “Who gets the house?”. It’s important to answer these questions and understand how property division works in Arizona to avoid bitter battles over assets, which can only make divorce worse.  

If you are considering or going through a divorce in Arizona, make sure you are well aware of the rules that apply to property division, and get sound legal advice from an experienced divorce attorney beforehand to avoid issues when dividing property.

Arizona Property Rules

Arizona is a community property state, which means that property acquired during the marriage is generally considered community property and is subject to division in a divorce. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Separate Property vs. Community Property

In Arizona, separate property is property that is owned by one spouse before the marriage or that was acquired during the marriage through inheritance, gift, or devise. Separate property is not subject to division in a divorce.

Community property is property that is acquired during the marriage by either spouse. This includes property that is purchased with income earned during the marriage, as well as debts incurred during the marriage. Community property is subject to division in a divorce.

Examples of Community Property

Community property can include a wide range of assets, such as:

  • The family home
  • Cars and other vehicles
  • Bank accounts
  • Retirement accounts and pensions
  • Business interests
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Furniture and other household items

How Are Assets Divided in a Divorce in Arizona?

When a couple divorces in Arizona, the court will divide the community property equitably. This does not necessarily mean that the property will be divided equally, but rather that it will be divided in a way that is fair and equitable given the circumstances of the marriage and the parties involved. Keep in mind that equitable does not always mean “equal”. 

Who Gets the House in an Arizona Divorce?

One of the most significant and emotional questions that arises during a divorce is who gets the family home. The family home may have a significant emotional attachment for both parties and their children. In Arizona, the court will consider the same factors as listed above when making this determination. However, there are additional factors that can be taken into account.

For example, if the couple has children, the court may be more likely to award the house to the custodial parent in order to provide stability for the children. If one spouse owned the home before the marriage, that spouse, if they can demonstrate ownership prior to marriage, will be awarded the home as their sole and separate property. If both spouses contributed significantly to the mortgage payments and upkeep of the home, the court may order the home to be sold and the proceeds divided between the parties.

What Factors Affect Who Gets the House?

In addition to the factors listed above, there are several other factors that can impact who gets the house in an Arizona divorce. These include:

  • Whether the house is underwater (i.e. the mortgage is greater than the value of the home)
  • Whether either spouse can afford to maintain the home on their own
  • Whether either spouse is willing to give up other assets in exchange for the home
  • Whether there are any liens or other encumbrances on the property

It’s important to note that the court’s decision regarding who gets the house can have significant financial and emotional consequences for both parties. Therefore, it’s important to work with an experienced family law attorney who can help you understand your options and negotiate a fair settlement.

Work with a Trusted Divorce Law Firm When Dividing Property

Divorce and property division can be a complex and emotional process. However, understanding how property is divided in a divorce in Arizona can help you navigate the process and ensure that you receive a fair and just outcome. At The Peterson Law Firm, we understand that every case is unique, and we are committed to providing our clients with personalized attention and aggressive representation to ensure that their rights and interests are protected.

If you are facing a divorce in Arizona and are concerned about property division, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our experienced Tempe family law attorneys can help you understand your rights and options and can provide you with the guidance and representation you need to achieve the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards an amicable separation and a better future for you and your family.


We value each and every one of our clients, employees, friends, and neighbors. Together, we have a social responsibility as a community partner to take proactive measures to keep our community well and to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Our office will remain open during regular business hours. However, we are implementing some additional precautions to limit social interactions and personal proximity. Specifically, we will seek to conduct consultations, meetings, conferences through video teleconferencing or on the phone whenever possible. Should an in-person appointment be needed, then we will coordinate those on an appointment basis.

If you have questions about your case and the status of the court, then please call. Our Firm will continually monitor the status of the coronavirus, so we are prepared to resume normal operations as quickly as possible.

From all of us at The Peterson Law Firm, please stay well.