Property division can be one of the most stressful aspects of divorce. Dividing your bank accounts and property can leave you uncertain about your finances, especially when your marital property involves a valuable asset like your family home. What will happen to your house in divorce?
What are your options in property division?
Florida law divides marital property equitably, not necessarily equally. This means that most of the property and debts acquired during your marriage and the property you paid for with marital funds is subject to division according to what the court considers equitable or fair. When the court considers your house marital property, you have a number of options.
One option is that you or your spouse could buy the other out. If you want the house and are able to pay your spouse their share of the house’s value, whether by paying them this sum outright or by sacrificing another high-value asset like a family business or vacation home, this may be a good option. However, to remove your spouse from the mortgage paperwork you will need to refinance, and this requires both a strong credit record and additional funds.
Another option available to you is selling the house. If neither of you can afford the house or if you have no other high-value assets, selling the house and dividing the net proceeds allows both of you to benefit from the house even if you cannot afford to keep it.
If you cannot afford to buy the house from your spouse now or the time is not right to sell your home, it is still possible to negotiate a fair solution. Deferring the sale allows you to establish an agreement now and sell the house or buy out your spouse later. This can be a good solution if you want your children to continue to live in their childhood home until adulthood, if you need to save additional funds to buy out your spouse or if the housing market makes it inadvisable to sell now. Delaying the sale, though, could impact both you and your spouse’s credit scores.
When you are at the end of your marriage, your home can be one of the most valuable pieces of property divided by the court. With careful thought and legal strategy, you can reach a solution that protects your rights now and strengthens your finances in the future.