Can I Stay In My Home (Marital Residence) Following A Divorce in Florida?
Secure Your Future With Our Sarasota Family Law Attorney
When facing divorce, you need an attorney who understands not just the law but the complexities of human relationships. At Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A., our lawyers will guide you through every step, offering personalized solutions to ensure the most favorable possible outcome for you and your family. Call us today at (941) 556-7020 or contact us online to schedule an Initial Office Visit.
Divorce is a complex and emotional process that raises many questions, one of which is often, “Who gets to stay in the marital home?” If you are contemplating divorce or are already in the midst of one, you may find yourself wondering what Florida law has to say about who stays in the marital home following the dissolution of a marriage. Below, we will explore this topic through the lens of Florida Statutes, which govern dissolution of marriage, support, and time-sharing.
Florida’s Equitable Distribution Principle
Florida follows the principle of equitable distribution when it comes to dividing assets and liabilities in a divorce. According to Florida Statute Section 61.075, the court begins with the premise that distribution should be equal, but it can also be unequal based on various factors, especially in a high net worth divorce situation wherein the marital estate is particularly complex.
Factors Affecting Distribution Of Marital Home
Florida Statutes Section 61.075(1)(h) particularly talks about the distribution of the marital home. It states that the court may consider whether it is desirable to retain the marital home for the benefit of a family member, including a dependent child.
However, this will be considered equitable only if:
It is in the best interest of the dependent child to stay in the home, or other equities would be served by allowing any other party to stay in the home.
Financial feasibility exists for maintaining the home until the child is emancipated or another court decision changes the possession of the home.
To elaborate, contributions made by each spouse to the home, the economic circumstances of both parties, and any interruption of careers or educational opportunities are among the factors the court will consider.
Interim Distribution And “Good Cause”
According to Florida Statutes Section 61.075(5), the court may find “good cause” to make an interim partial distribution of marital assets, which could include the home, while the divorce case is still ongoing. Good cause is defined as extraordinary circumstances that necessitate an interim distribution. The court will weigh the assets and liabilities to ensure that neither party is unfairly disadvantaged by this decision.
Non-Marital Vs Marital Assets
It’s worth mentioning that the court also identifies non-marital and marital assets, as per Florida Statutes Section 61.075(6). Marital assets typically include the home if it was acquired during the marriage, unless you can provide compelling evidence that it should be considered a non-marital asset.
Alimony And The Marital Home
Florida Statutes Section 61.075(9) specifies that the court can determine the equitable distribution of assets independently of alimony. This means that even if you or your spouse are awarded alimony, it doesn’t automatically imply that either of you will get to stay in the marital home. The two matters are evaluated separately.
Options For Splitting Up The Marital Home In A Florida Divorce
Selling The Home And Splitting The Proceeds
One of the most straightforward ways to handle the marital home is to sell it and divide the proceeds between both parties. This option is usually free from complications and is often preferred when neither party wants to or can afford to keep the home. The money can then be allocated as part of the overall division of marital assets.
In Florida, selling the home to split the proceeds is considered in line with equitable distribution. The court will likely look at the contributions each party has made to the home’s purchase, upkeep, and mortgage to decide how the proceeds should be divided, in accordance with Florida Statutes Section 61.075(1).
One Spouse Buys Out The Other
In many divorces, one spouse may want to keep the marital home. In that case, the spouse who wishes to retain the home may buy out the other spouse’s share. This often involves refinancing the mortgage to remove the other spouse’s name and come up with the funds to pay for their share.
Florida Statutes Section 61.075(1)(h) mentions that the court may consider the desirability of one spouse retaining the marital home, especially when dependent children are involved. However, the feasibility of maintaining the home financially will be a key deciding factor.
Co-Ownership Or “Nesting”
Some divorcing couples choose to continue co-owning the home for a period, usually for the sake of minor children’s stability. In one unique arrangements known as “nesting,” the children remain in the home while the parents rotate in and out.
While this option is much less conventional, Florida law does actually allow for such an arrangement, especially if it’s in the best interest of the child or children involved (Florida Statutes Section 61.075(1)(h)).
Offset With Other Assets
Another option is to use other marital assets to offset the value of the home. For instance, if one spouse keeps the home, the other might receive investment accounts, retirement funds, or other assets of equal value.
Florida Statutes Section 61.075 supports this method through its guidelines on equitable distribution. The court will look at the total distribution of assets and liabilities between both parties to ensure fairness.
In some cases, a spouse may be allowed to stay in the home temporarily, especially when minor children are involved. This is often a short-term solution decided upon until a more permanent arrangement can be reached.
Florida Statutes Section 61.075(5) allows for interim distribution of assets, which could include temporary possession of the home, especially in cases of “good cause.”
Top Sarasota Family Law Attorney At Your Service
Deciding what to do with the marital home in a Florida divorce involves weighing multiple options, each with its own set of implications. These options must be viewed through the lens of Florida’s equitable distribution principle and often involve multiple considerations such as the welfare of children, the financial stability of each spouse, and the overall division of marital assets and liabilities. To understand how these laws apply to your specific situation, consulting with top family law attorney near you who is well-versed in Florida statutes, such as divorce lawyer Matthew Z. Martell, is highly recommended.
Looking for competent legal representation in divorce and family law matters? Well, Look no further. At the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell, P.A., our Sarasota, Bradenton, and Venice, Florida divorce attorney will provide you with the skilled guidance and compassionate care that you deserve. We have years of experience in helping clients reach satisfactory resolutions. Act now; call us at (941) 556-7020 or click here to consult us online.