One of the biggest challenges in any divorce is the often contentious process of dividing your belongings with your ex. Many couples have a hard time agreeing on what a fair division of their property would look like. The most valuable assets in your marital estate, like your home, will be the property that you are most likely to fight over when you divorce.
Your home may be where you have raised your children. You may also have fond memories of rebuilding the front staircase, making dinner in the kitchen or hosting your friends for game night. The idea of losing your home could be a serious deterrent even though you want to file for divorce.
When you understand what happens to your home in a Florida divorce, you may feel better about filing the necessary paperwork.
Dividing real property is not a winner-take-all process
Florida has an equitable distribution statute that guides the division of marital assets and debts in a litigated or contested divorce. A judge should try to be fair about splitting up your property. While they can’t allow both of you to stay in the home, they can still award each of you an appropriate portion of the home equity.
It is common for the spouse who stays in the marital home to need to refinance and withdraw equity from the home to compensate their spouse. Sometimes, the courts may award other significant property to the spouse not keeping the house to compensate them for their share of home equity. Although it can be hard to move during an already emotional time in your life, you should be able to count on receiving an equitable share of the home’s value as a nest egg to help rebuild your life.
Is keeping the home your biggest goal?
For some people, the emotional value of their home is so significant that their desire to keep the home outweighs the possible consequences of such a choice. If you want to keep the home, advance planning is often necessary.
Those who have very clear goals for property division proceedings may need to look at ways to settle outside of court to ensure that they secure their preferred outcome. When you settle with your spouse instead of litigating, you have the option of setting the terms yourself, which makes retaining the home easier if that is your primary goal.
Understanding the rules for property division in a Florida divorce will help you decide what to do with your marital home.