When splitting up property in a divorce, one of the assets that couples can have trouble deciding what to do with is the family home. In most cases, this is not only the largest marital assets; it is typically the one with the greatest value, making it an easy target to fight over. Since Florida divides assets according to equitable distribution, all marital assets should be distributed fairly, which the court keeps in mind when deciding who should get the family home.
Who Has Primary Physical Custody?
When the parents have children, the court will often grant the party with primary physical custody exclusive possession of the home. There might be stipulations stating that the parent will keep the house until the child reaches 18.
After the child is a legal adult, the home can then be sold and the profits divided among both parties unless there are contingencies in place like the parent in the home getting remarried. On the other hand, the spouse that is not in the house could be responsible for continuing financial contributions by paying for taxes, upkeep, and the mortgage.
What if There Are No Children Involved?
If one spouse wants the home while the other doesn’t, they can buy out the other party's interest. Typically, this is the best solution if couples are willing and financially able to do so.
Neither Spouse Wants the Home
When neither party wants to keep the family home, they can choose to sell the property and equitably split the proceeds as agreed upon by the court.
If Spouses Want to Keep the Home
If both parties want to keep the home but cannot agree on who will get it, the court will look at equitable distribution to decide what will be the fairest agreement.
To do this, the court looks at many factors like:
- How long the couple was married
- Each parties income and assets
- Assets that could be awarded to one spouse that would offset the value of the home
- Source of funding for the home
- How much each spouse contributed to the marriage
- Age and health of each party
- What each party’s earning capacity is
- If there are minor children involved
- If either spouse wasted economic resources in the marriage
- Any other relevant factors (according to the judge’s discretion)
Ultimately, there are many factors and unique situations that can affect who will get the home in a divorce, but generally, when the court is involved in deciding, it will be a fair decision for each party.
Need assistance with dividing your marital property? Call Advocate Law Firm, P.A. today at (863) 644-5566 to set up a free consultation with our Bartow divorce lawyer.