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When Your House is No Longer Your Home

After years of marriage, your home may be one of, if not the most, significant assets owned by you and your spouse. When facing a divorce, the disposition of the marital home will be a critical issue and dependent upon a variety of circumstances. Under Florida law, the judge presiding over the divorce will distribute marital assets and liabilities between the spouses. Unless otherwise justified under the circumstances of the particular case, this division should be equal between each individual.

Marital vs. Nonmarital Property

With some exceptions, nonmarital assets include property acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage. On the other hand, marital property generally includes property acquired during the marriage, without regard as to whose name the property was titled in. For example, after two years of marriage, Suzy and Tom purchase a house. This house would be marital property under Florida law. Marital property can also include an enhancement in value of nonmarital assets that occur during the marriage. For example, Gene purchased a house 10 years before marrying Sam. Sam is a contractor and did substantial work to the home during the marriage using marital funds. The appreciation may be considered a marital asset even though the home was purchased before the marriage by Gene.

Equitable Distribution

During a divorce proceeding the presiding judge will first set aside each spouse’s nonmarital property, and then consider the marital property for distribution between the parties. The judge will distribute the marital property equally, unless fairness requires otherwise based upon the following factors:

  • each party’s contribution to the marriage and/or to the acquisition or appreciation of the asset;
  • the duration of the marriage and relative economic position of the parties;
  • any sacrifice made by a party with regard to their career or education for the sake of the other party;
  • the need of such asset for use in a business or profession;
  • any intentional impairment of the asset by a party after the filing for divorce or within the preceding two-year period; and
  • any other factor necessary to do substantial justice.

Disposition of the Marital Home

Division of the home creates an obvious problem in a divorce. Many times neither party can support the mortgage payment due on the family residence, which will require its sale and distribution of the proceeds based on the factors listed above. On the other side of the spectrum, in situations where there is substantial equity, neither party may have the resources to buy the other party’s share of the equity, which will also necessitate a sale and distribution of the proceeds as outlined above. Other factors may drive the judge’s decision outside of the relative economics of the property. If the marital home is a residence for a younger child of the parties, the court may find that in the best interest of that child the custodial parent should remain in the home if financially feasible.

Get the Assistance You Need

The distribution of marital assets is a fact specific analysis that requires knowledge and experience. The attorneys of All Family Law Group, P.A. are knowledgeable Tampa divorce attorneys who have experience in the identification and distribution of marital and nonmarital assets and liabilities. If you are faced with divorce, we can help protect and assert your rights under Florida law. Contact the Tampa family and divorce 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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