Deciding which spouse gets to keep the family home is often one of the most emotional issues involved in dividing up a couple’s property during a divorce. This article takes a look at some of the primary considerations involved in deciding which spouse (if either) should get title to the family home.
Marital Property Division Under Florida Law
Under Florida law, a home purchased during the marriage is considered a “marital asset.” In a divorce, marital assets are divided, “under the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all of the relevant factors.” In short, each spouse gets half, unless the circumstances dictate a different outcome. The circumstances that may come into play include:
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including child-rearing and domestic services
- Each spouse’s income and separate assets
- The duration of the marriage
- The desirability for either spouse of retaining exclusive rights to an individual asset (such as the family home)
- Each spouse’s contributions to the purchase and improvement of the marital asset
- The desirability of retaining the home as the primary residence for the couple’s dependent children
- Whether “other equities” would be served by giving either spouse exclusive use and possession of the home
Deciding What to Do with the Family Home in a Divorce
When deciding what to do, the typical couple will have a handful of different options. These include:
- Agreeing that one spouse will get to keep the house in exchange for giving up rights to other marital assets;
- Agreeing that one spouse will buy out the other’s interest in the home; or
- Selling the house and splitting the proceeds along with the couple’s other marital assets.
Each option has different tax consequences. Selling or giving up rights in the family home can also affect your estate plan. As a result, we recommend that you work with an experienced family law and estate planning attorney in order to thoroughly evaluate all of the options available.
Do You Have a Prenuptial Agreement?
If you and your spouse entered into a prenuptial agreement, you may have already predetermined how the matter of ownership of the family home should be handled. Property division is one of several issues that couples can address proactively through prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.
Speak with an Experienced Attorney about Your Florida Divorce
To learn more about Florida’s marital property laws or to speak with an experienced family lawyer about your divorce, contact Beller & Bustamante, P.L. today. Located in Jacksonville, we serve clients in Duval, St. Johns, Clay, and Putnam Counties.