2018 Florida Divorce: What Will Happen to Our House?
For many Florida couples thinking about divorce, the family home can be a source of confusion and anxiety. One or both spouses may be strongly attached to the home. If one spouse moves, the monthly expenses for the family will increase since the same income will have to support two homes. Many people wonder, what will happen to our house if we get divorced? Read on for answers to some common questions.
Who Has to Move Out of the House?Unless there is a restraining order restricting one of the spouses from staying in the marital home, both spouses generally have the legal right to stay in the house. Bickering and drama, however, can bubble up as a marriage falls apart. Living in the same house can make this situation worse. You have to consider what is best for your wellbeing and the wellbeing of your children. If living under one roof is becoming intolerable for you and/or your kids, move out. If you can*t afford another place, consider moving in with friends or relatives. Some attorneys will tell you that you have to stay in the house no matter what, or your spouse will get the house in the divorce. Be careful. There are many factors that the court considers in deciding what to do with the house (see below). No one but you knows what it is like living with your spouse in the same house while you are getting divorced. Your safety and sanity should come first.
Will I Lose the House if I Move Out?There are many factors that a court will consider in deciding whether to award the marital home to one spouse, or to order the house to be sold. First, the court will have to determine if the home is, in fact, a marital asset, in whole or in part. This analysis can be quite complicated. There are many considerations. Was the house purchased during the marriage? Is it titled in both spouse*s names? Who paid for it? Was the house improved during the marriage? How? Who paid for the improvements? Was there a mortgage on the house? Who made the mortgage payments? Did the value of the home increase during the marriage? How much? What was the reason for the increase? Once the court determines that a house is marital, in whole or in part, there are several other considerations for the court in deciding what to do with the house. Are there minor children who will benefit by staying in the house? For how long? Can either spouse afford to pay for the house after the divorce? Has one spouse already moved out? Can the marital income support two homes?
What Will Happen to the House After the Divorce?Once the court finds that a house is marital, there are several legal options for dealing with your home in a divorce. The court can order the house to be sold, either immediately or at some time in the future. An immediate sale, known as *partition*, may be ordered if there are no children living in the house, the house is worth more than its mortgage, and neither spouse can afford to pay for the house after the divorce. If the equity in the home is the only significant marital asset, selling the house may be the only way that a court can divide the parties* assets. When there are minor children living in the home, the court may award the right to live in the house to one spouse, known as *exclusive use and occupancy*. This does not change the ownership of the home. Typically, the order will require the sale of the house when the period of exclusive use and occupancy is over, for example, when the children finish high school. Alternatively, the court can award the house to one spouse and an amount of money equal to half the value of the home to the other spouse.