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How Divorce Affects Real Estate Ownership in Florida

June 15, 2018

Do you have questions about how a divorce affects real estate ownership in Florida? There is a lot of misinformation about how real property is divided between both parties when a couple divorces in Florida. We’d like to set the record straight by providing you with some basic information that you may find helpful. Of course, for your specific situation, we advise you to consult with your own attorney or you are welcome to call us if you’d like one of our attorneys to consider your case.

Florida Is a No-Fault State

First of all, it’s important for you to understand that Florida is a no-fault state. What that means is that property – including real property like your home and personal property like cars and the boat – will be split between both parties equally. It doesn’t matter who is at fault for causing the divorce. That doesn’t affect how property is split in a no-fault state like Florida. However, this would be a factor in real estate ownership in a state like Virginia, for example, which is not a no-fault state. In non no-fault states, the spouse who is not at fault may petition the court for a greater portion of the marital assets than the spouse proven to be at fault.

All Marital Assets Are Subject to Equal Division

We’ve already established that couples divorcing in Florida must equally divide their property, but what property must be divided? Based on Florida law, any property considered to be a “marital asset” must be divided equally between both parties in a divorce.

So what are marital assets? In Florida, marital assets are any and all property acquired during the marriage, even property that’s only in one person’s name and not the others. Therefore, if you have a separate bank account or purchased a rental property in your name only while you were married, these will still be equally divided between you and your spouse at the final judgment when you divorce.

What about Real Estate Ownership in Florida? What Happens to the Home?

Put in simplest terms, both parties in the divorce are entitled to half of the equity in all real estate, including the home if it was purchased during the marriage.

This doesn’t necessarily mean the home has to be liquidated though. If one spouse wishes to remain in the home, and can buy out the other with assets that are theirs, they may be able to negotiate to keep the home after the divorce.

Children may also have an impact on real estate ownership during a Florida divorce. Florida courts always consider the wellbeing of a couple’s children when making decisions about the division of the family’s home. For example, they may award the home to the parent who provides the most care for the children or who has sole custody of the children, while awarding other types of assets to the other party so that both parties get their equal share of assets. If the court decides that it’s in the best interest of a couple’s children for one parent to remain in the home to care for the children and there aren’t enough assets to award an equal amount of assets to the other spouse, the court may also postpone liquidation of the home until children are older or grown.

Rely on Hall & Runnels for Issues Concerning Real Estate Ownership in Florida

At Hall & Runnels, we take pride in going the extra mile for all those we serve, including those who depend on us for our legal expertise regarding real estate ownership in Florida. We specialize in environmental and land use issues, community association issues, and alternative dispute resolution. Contact us today to learn more.

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