Who Gets the House in a Divorce?

While going through a divorce in Florida, there are a lot of issues that need to be addressed. One of the most important issues is how property will be divided. There are some assets that each individual spouse may have brought with them to the marriage. This type of property is typically considered non-marital property and will often remain with the person who brought the property to the marriage.

At the same time, there are certain pieces of marital property that must be divided. One major issue is who will get the house after the dissolution is finalized. Since you cannot cut a house in half and give each spouse their interest in the house, who gets the house in a divorce? Below are a few important points to consider, and remember to reach out to an experienced marital and family law attorney who can help you sort through these issues.

Understanding Equitable Distribution

As you go through a divorce, the most important thing to remember is that the Court will attempt to divide any marital property as equally as possible, meaning as close to 50:50 as possible. Generally, if the property was acquired during the marriage, the Court will consider the property marital property.

Therefore, any assets and liabilities that you and your spouse acquired during the marriage will have to be separated during the divorce. For example, if you buy a car, the car must be disbursed through equitable distribution. Likewise, if you buy a house during the marriage, this asset must be divided. So, how do you split the house? There are several options available that you should consider.

Options for Equitably Dividing the Home

divorce house

Each divorce case is different, so you have to analyze the options below on a case-by-case basis keeping the specific facts of your case in mind:

Exclusive Use and Possession

One option is for one of the parties to have exclusive use and possession of the home. For example, if there are minor children involved, it may be desirable to keep the minor children in the home for a multitude of reasons, such as, keeping the kids in the same school. Therefore, if you are the primary caregiver/homemaker then you should consider requesting exclusive use and possession of the home.

Buy-Out the Other Spouse

Another option is for one spouse to buyout the other spouse’s interest in the home. For example, if you really want to keep the house, then you would need to buyout your spouse’s interest in the home. The most efficient and accurate way to do this is to have a property appraisal completed on the home, typically this cost is split. Then, you can make an informed decision regarding a buyout of your spouse’s interest, or vice versa.

Sell the Home and Split the Proceeds

An extremely popular option is to simply sell the house and divide the proceeds. If there is a mortgage on the home, the mortgage must be satisfied first, then the remaining funds (the proceeds) will be divided between you and your spouse.

Unfortunately, in some cases, this option is forced upon the parties. If neither spouse has the ability to afford the home on his or her own, then the only option might be to sell the home. In this situation, the result is the same the home is sold and any proceeds are divided between the parties.

Compensate With Other Asset(s)

In many cases one spouse can compensate the other spouse’s interest in the home with another asset or assets. For example, if there are multiple cars, the cars might be equal to the value of half of the home. Then, one spouse keeps the cars while the other spouse keeps the house. Or, if there are other houses that the parties have bought together, it might be possible for each spouse to take one property. However, you need to always keep in mind what you would be entitled to and ensure whatever you are receiving is, in fact, a tradeoff for the interest you are giving up. This option must be analyzed on a case-by-case basis, and it is important to reach out to a knowledgeable Florida divorce attorney who has experience with these issues.

Dealing With Mortgage Issues

There are several mortgage issues that must be addressed. If there is still a loan out on the home, a major issue is that both spouses might still be on the mortgage. If one spouse is no longer living in the home or making financial payments towards the mortgage, then he or she will want to make sure their name is removed from the mortgage.

The easiest way to accomplish this is to refinance the home, making sure the new loan is only in one person’s name. A refinance can be a very difficult financial decision, particularly if the terms of refinancing are less favorable then the current mortgage terms, such as, paying a higher interest rate. This is a very complicated issue, which is another reason why it is important to reach out to an attorney who has experience dealing with these issues. That way, you put yourself in the most stable and favorable financial ground possible moving forward.

Contact Ross and Andreassi for Help with Your Florida Divorce

There are a lot of important issues that you need to work out if you are going through a divorce. Even if you and your spouse can agree on some or all of the issues, it is still important to have a Florida divorce attorney in your corner who can help you through this complex process. At Ross & Andreassi, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide you through this process start to finish. We understand that there are a lot of obstacles to overcome during a divorce, and we will zealously advocate for you and ensure you receive what you are entitled to throughout this difficult and emotional process.

We have already helped countless individuals, both locally and throughout Florida, make the difficult transition from married to single through the dissolution of marriage process, and we can do the same you.

To learn more about how we can assist you, contact us today for a consultation. We would be honored to put our knowledge and experience to work for you.

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