Divorcing couple with legal document

In a Florida Divorce, Who Gets the Home?

In a Florida divorce, the home is often the largest asset involved. It can also be one of the most personal and highly sought after. It is no wonder, after all, why many worry and wonder over who will get the home in the divorce. Unless you have reached a marital settlement agreement with your spouse addressing things like property division, including who will get the home, this big decision will be left for the court to decide.

In a Florida Divorce, Who Gets the Home?

There are a number of factors that will be considered in determining who will get the home in a Florida divorce. Florida family law judges have wide discretion in making decisions regarding division of the marital assets. How and when the marital home was acquired will play a major role in the court’s decision. If the home was acquired prior to the marriage and the spouse who acquired it was also solely responsible for paying the mortgage and other household expenses, then that spouse may receive exclusive use and possession of the home in the divorce.

This, however, is not as common as you may think. When the home was acquired prior to marriage, it will usually be considered separate property as opposed to marital property and will, therefore, not be subject to division in divorce. Instead, separate property remains under the sole ownership of the spouse who brought it going into the marriage. Separate property, such as a home, can become marital property, however, if the other spouse made significant contributions to it over the course of the marriage. For instance, if the other spouse made mortgage payments or helped repair and maintain the home, it may be considered, at least in part, marital property.

Marital property, that property acquired during the marriage, is generally divided 50-50 in a Florida divorce. Florida is, however, an equitable distribution state and that means a court may gravitate towards a 50-50 property split, but the guiding principle is that the distribution is to be fair, or equitable, not necessarily equal. During the equitable distribution of the assets, courts will consider a number of arrangements in addressing who will take ownership or have an ownership stake in the home.

Oftentimes, the home is given to the primary caregiver or the one who will have the majority of the parenting time with minor children. If this arrangement is financially feasible, the court will usually gravitate toward this arrangement. Keeping the children in the same home is often a priority as it will be viewed as being in the best interest of the children. The children will be able to avoid moving and changing schools, among other life disruptions.

Alternatively, a court may dictate that the spouses can buy each other out. If both spouses are deemed to have equity in the home, but one spouse wants to keep the home, then that spouse can buy out the other spouse’s share in the home. If this does not work out or a desirable arrangement, the home can be sold and the profits split in an equitable manner.

Florida Family Law Attorneys

Are you worried about who will get the home in your Florida divorce? Talk to the trusted team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou about your options and what we can do to help. Contact us today.