Florida divorces are ruled by statute that divides marital property equally. Obviously a home has to either be taken by one party or sold. However, if there is equity in the property, then the decision on who takes the home or if it is sold becomes more difficult because both parties are entitled to 50% of the equity. When going through a divorce where there is a marital home that has equity, some of your options are as follows:
First, selling the home may be the easiest and cleanest way out. If the home can be sold, which today’s market is hard to determine, then the equity would be determined based on the selling price minus closing costs, the remaining amount to be divided equally by the parties.
Second, one party can stay in the home and sell it in a set time to then split the equity. An appraisal should be done at the time of the decision so that an accounting of the present market value and present equity can be determined. A decision must then be made as to who will pay the closing costs and associated taxes. In addition, the person that stays in the home and pays the mortgage, if done without the assistance of the other, should get credit for said payments. So, if the equity would be $10 and one spouse has paid $2 towards the home, then the equity would be $8 to be split equally. There are some other provisions that should be considered including improvements, large repairs, etc.
Third, if one party would like to stay in the home and there is presently equity in it, then an appraisal can be done and the spouse keeping the home could agree to paying a lump sum figure to the party leaving the home. For instance, the party staying in the home could agree to buy-out the other’s interest in the home. This is a clean departure for both parties because it divides the home equitably and leaves no issues to be determined at a later date.
These are small examples of your options, if you are going through a divorce and have a home, it is important to review all of your options and determine your position. In order to better understand all of your options, it is a good idea to speak with an experienced attorney to walk you through the process.