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Who Gets to Keep the House in a Divorce?

In Florida, the court cannot finalize a divorce until several issues are addressed. One of those issues that arises in every divorce case is how spouses will divide their property, assets, and debts. Florida is known as an “equitable distribution” state, which means that the law requires spouses to divide all marital property in a fair manner, given the totality of the circumstances. It also means that the Courts start with the premise that distribution of the assets and debts are to be divided equally. Only after considering the certain factors will a Court justify an unequal division of the spouses’ assets and debts. A major aspect of property division is which spouse – if any – gets to keep the house. This issue will need to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and you should discuss your specific situation with an experienced divorce lawyer in Brandon as soon as possible.

Is the House Marital Property?

The first step in determining what happens to the house is to identify whether the house is marital property or separate property. Marital property gets divided, while each spouse gets to keep their own separate property. The following are some scenarios in which a house may be separate or marital property.

You acquired the house during your marriage and both of your names are on the title.

You acquired the house during your marriage and only your name is on the title.

Your spouse had the house prior to the marriage, though you moved in and shared the mortgage payments and expenses during the marriage.

As you can see, this determination can be complicated depending on the circumstances. In most cases, the equity earned during a marriage will be marital property if both spouses contributed to paying for the house.

Options for Dividing the House

Clearly, you cannot cut your house down the middle and each keep half. Instead, there are different options to divide the house, such as:

Note that property does not have to be divided equally in Florida, but fairly. Many couples come up with creative arrangements that allow one spouse to remain in the home, especially if there are children involved.

Contact Our Brandon Divorce Attorneys Today

At the law firm of Carman, Bevington & Finegan, P.A., our divorce lawyers can advise you of your rights and options regarding your divorce. If you are in the Brandon area, please call 813-654-3444 or contact us online.