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Who Gets the House in a Divorce?

who gets the house in a divorceOne of the most significant decisions in a divorce is determining what happens to the family home. In Florida, as in many other states, the division of assets, including the marital home, can be a complex and emotionally charged process.

What factors are considered by Florida courts when deciding which spouse gets the family home and why a couple might choose to sell the home instead?

Factors Considered by Florida Courts

When determining who gets the family home in a divorce, Florida courts consider various factors to ensure a fair and equitable division of marital property. Some of the key factors include:

  • Ownership and title: Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means the court divides marital property fairly but not necessarily equally. If the home is titled in both spouses’ names or was acquired during the marriage using marital funds, it is considered marital property subject to division.
  • Contributions to the marriage: Courts consider each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, both financial and non-financial when determining property division. This includes factors such as financial contributions, homemaking, childcare, and support for the other spouse’s career or education.
  • Financial circumstances: Courts take into account each spouse’s financial circumstances, including income, earning capacity, and future financial needs, when deciding who gets the family home. The goal is to ensure that both spouses can maintain a suitable standard of living after the divorce.
  • Children’s best interests: If there are minor children involved, courts prioritize their best interests when making decisions about the family home. This may involve considering factors such as stability, continuity, and proximity to schools and other important resources.
  • Agreements between spouses: If the spouses have a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement that addresses the division of assets, including the family home, courts will generally enforce the terms of the agreement, provided it is valid and enforceable.

Why Couples Might Choose to Sell the Family Home

While some couples may decide to have one spouse keep the family home, others may choose to sell the home instead. There are several reasons why selling the family home might be the best option:

  • Financial considerations: Selling the family home allows both spouses to access the equity in the home. They can divide this between them to provide financial stability and resources for starting anew.
  • Emotional closure: For some couples, selling the family home provides a sense of closure. It removes the emotional burden of holding onto shared memories.
  • Practicality: In some cases, keeping the family home may not be financially feasible or practical for one or both spouses, especially if it requires significant upkeep, maintenance, or expenses.
  • Fresh start: Selling the family home and purchasing new residences can symbolize a fresh start. Both spouses can move forward in a new home. It allows them to create new memories and establish their separate households.
  • Avoiding conflict: Disputes over the family home can prolong the divorce process and lead to unnecessary conflict between spouses. Selling the home and dividing the proceeds can help streamline the division of assets and minimize contentiousness.

While some couples may choose to have one spouse keep the family home, others might opt to sell the home. They might do so for financial, emotional, practical, or logistical reasons. By understanding their options and considering the implications of each decision, divorcing couples can make informed choices that best suit their circumstances and goals. If you’d like to discuss your situation with a legal professional, contact the Geller Law Firm at (813) 405-1509.

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