Who Gets the House in a Florida Divorce?
Some of the most pressing questions that we hear among soon-to-be divorced couples involve the fate of their family home. Unfortunately, this can be a contentious issue that can take a long time to resolve. There are, however, a few different options for couples who find themselves in this position.
Equitable Distribution in Florida
Every state has its own rules for how couples must divide their shared property in the event of divorce. In Florida, divorcing spouses must adhere to the rule of equitable distribution, which means that all marital assets, or assets that were acquired by either spouse during the marriage, must be divided fairly. This same rule applies to all liabilities incurred during the course of the marriage. Non-marital property, or separate assets, on the other hand, remain in the sole possession of the original owner. Whether a home qualifies as marital or non-marital property will have a significant impact on the fate of a couple’s family home during divorce.
Options for the Marital Residence
There are a few different ways that couples can divide up a marital residence. One of the most common is to sell the house and split the proceeds. This is probably the most straightforward option, especially in cases where the parties don’t have children and neither wish to retain the house for their personal use. Alternatively, if only one spouse actually wants to keep the home, then that person can offer to buy out the other party’s share by refinancing the mortgage. If a buyout isn’t financially feasible, then the person who wishes to keep the property could agree to give up other assets of comparable value, like a retirement account or other investment property, in exchange for full ownership. Finally, some couples opt to continue joint ownership, but to set future conditions for the sale of the home. This is a common choice for couples who share children and believe that the sale of the home and relocation would disrupt the children’s lives.
Considerations that Could Impact Your Decision
If you and your spouse own a home together, but have decided to divorce, a few different considerations will likely affect your decision regarding ownership of that property, including:
- Whether you and your spouse share children, as keeping them in the family home, at least for the time being may be in their best interests;
- Your financial situation, with each spouse’s ability to maintain the home, stay up-to-date on mortgage payments, and pay taxes coming into play; and
- The value of the home and the current state of the real estate market, which could mean that refraining from an immediate sale is in the couple’s best interests long-term.
For help determining the fate of your own home during a Florida divorce, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced Largo legal team today.
Available for Evening and Weekend Appointments
While family homes can hold emotional significance, they are also often valuable assets, which means that there are practical realities to consider when determining the fate of that residence during divorce. The skilled and compassionate Largo divorce lawyers at Cairns Law know how difficult this decision can be and are eager to put our experience and resources to use in your case. Call us at 727-683-1472 to get started.