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Who Keeps the House in a Divorce?

Divorce is never easy but it can become more complicated with there is property at stake. The home is a place that should be considered a safe haven, yet it could become a sticking point in a divorce settlement. In Florida property and assets that were acquired during the marriage are considered marital property and are to be divided equitably between spouses. All too often, couples disagree about what to do with the home after the divorce. The situation can become more complex if the couple bought the home together prior to getting married.

Equitable Property Distribution

Equitable property distribution means that both parties must split their assets and property so that both receive the same value in the settlement. There are some considerations that may be given to how property is divided but in most marriages, especially with couples who have been married a long time, the split is approximately equal. The marital home is just one part of the property owned by the couple that must now be divided. There are several options that are generally available:

  • One spouse may buy the other out and own the home. This requires that the spouse relinquish other assets that total half the value of the home;
  • The couple may sell the home and split the profits; or
  • Both parties may continue to own the home together until a later date. In this case, the person living in the home may need to pay rent along with a share of taxes and maintenance costs.

The choice to sell the home may be a difficult one but ultimately may be the best option, particularly if the divorce is acrimonious. In situations where there are minor children living in the home, the couple may decide that it is best to allow them to stay in the home with one parent so they can continue to attend the same school and keep the same friends and activities.

Preparing for Divorce

If you own a home, or other property, there are a couple of things that you must do immediately when you decide to divorce. If the home is mortgaged you will need to determine the amount that is still owed on the home as well as how much equity you have in the home. Divorcing couples must find out the current value of the home. This is best accomplished by having an appraisal completed. Once you know what the home is worth you can determine the amount of equity you have in it. This will help couples make the decision as to how to proceed. For example, if you owe more than the home is worth it may be advantageous to keep the home until the market value increases and you have more equity in the property.

How a Divorce Attorney Will Help

Couples in Florida are encouraged to come to an agreement as to the major divorce settlement terms. This is often done with help from an experienced Tampa divorce lawyer. Your attorney guides you through the process and works to assist when there are disagreements. You will learn what your options are when it comes to your home so you can make the decision that is best in your situation. Some divorces are more complex than others. Count on your attorney to answer your questions and work to achieve a fair and equitable divorce for you and your family. Contact the Tampa divorce and family lawyers at All Family Law Group, P.A. in Tampa Bay at 813-816-2232 for a consultation at no charge or email us.

By Lynette Silon-Laguna Google+

All Family Law Group, P.A.
The law firm of All Family Law Group (Lynette Silon-Laguna, P.A.) provides legal services to the cities of Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon, Riverview, Lakeland, Valrico, Gibsonton, Lithia, Mango, Palm River, Plant City, Seffner, Sun City Center, Apollo Beach, Ruskin, Temple Terrace, Carrollwood, Thonotosassa, Lutz, FishHawk, MacDill Air Force Base, and all of Hillsborough, Pinellas & Polk Counties.

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