The homestead of every resident of this state, with the improvements and appurtenances, not exceeding in value fifteen thousand dollars ($15,000) and in area 160 acres, shall be, to the extent of any interest he or she may have therein, whether a fee or less estate or whether held in common or in severalty, exempt from levy and sale under execution or other process for the collection of debts during his or her life and occupancy and, if he or she leaves surviving him or her a spouse and a minor child, or children, or either, during the life of the surviving spouse and minority of the child, or children, but the area of the homestead shall not be enlarged by reason of any encumbrance thereon or of the character of the estate or interest owned therein by him or her. When a husband and wife jointly own a homestead each is entitled to claim separately the exemption provided herein, to the same extent and value as an unmarried individual. For purposes of this section and Sections 6-10-38 and 6-10-40 , a mobile home or similar dwelling if the principal place of residence of the individual claiming the exemption shall be deemed to be a homestead.
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