In a Florida divorce, the Court looks at a number of factors when equitably dividing the marital assets, including the house. The concept of equitable distribution is to equal the assets and debts of the parties and to equalize said debts in accordance with the ability of the parties to pay. The Court will look at factors such as the rate of the mortgage, whether a party is receiving or paying alimony, whether the marital home is underwater like so many houses in Florida, whether either party can afford to maintain the house, when the house may be sold as an asset for the parties versus a growing liability, and many other factors. The parties may also agree, before going in front of the judge, what to do with the marital home. However, whether determined by agreement of the parties or by the judge, there should be a determination made about whether the party receiving the home will receive any set-offs or credits for the marital home at the time of the sale.
When deciding whether the receiving party of the martial home will also receive credits or set-offs for the mortgage and related expenses, Florida Statute 61.077 provides factors to consider, as follows:
“(1) Whether exclusive use and possession of the marital home is being awarded, and the basis for the award;
(2) Whether alimony is being awarded to the party in possession and whether the alimony is being awarded to cover, in part or otherwise, the mortgage and taxes and other expenses of and in connection with the marital home;
(3) Whether child support is being awarded to the party in possession and whether the child support is being awarded to cover, in part or otherwise, the mortgage and taxes and other expenses of and in connection with the marital home;
(4) The value to the party in possession of the use and occupancy of the marital home;
(5) The value of the loss of use and occupancy of the marital home to the party out of possession;
(6) Which party will be entitled to claim the mortgage interest payments, real property tax payments, and related payments in connection with the marital home as tax deductions for federal income tax purposes;
(7) Whether one or both parties will experience a capital gains taxable event as a result of the sale of the marital home; and
(8) Any other factor necessary to bring about equity and justice between the parties.”
Each divorce is different and understanding what to expect in yours can be vital to your emotional well-being and to knowing when to fight and what to fight for, so it is helpful to speak with a divorce lawyer.