Maintaining Home Ownership Through A Florida Divorce
The marital home is more than just a building, often acting as a repository of memories for a family and a significant financial asset. When divorce looms, protecting your home and other assets becomes a top priority.
If you are considering divorce in Florida, it is imperative that you take proactive steps if maintaining home ownership is a top priority.
At The Bardine Law Firm, Johnny Bardine works diligently to help protect the important assets of clients during divorce proceedings. Don’t leave your financial future to chance – consult with our team today. You can contact us at (727) 605-7078 or through our website.
Florida Laws on Splitting Significant Assets Like Houses
In Florida, asset division during divorce is guided by “equitable distribution,” aiming for a fair, though not necessarily equal, split. Factors like marriage duration, each spouse’s financial contributions, and individual needs are considered. Florida law differentiates between “community property,” acquired during the marriage, and “separate property,” owned individually by one spouse. The marital home often falls under community property, but it can be classified differently based on various circumstances.
As an example, if one spouse owned the home before the marriage, it might initially be considered separate property. However, if marital funds were used for mortgage payments or significant improvements, the home could be partially or wholly reclassified as a marital asset.
Another scenario to consider is if one spouse inherits a property during the marriage. While inheritances are generally regarded as separate property, commingling of funds – for example, using a joint account for home maintenance – can again muddy the waters, potentially converting it into a marital asset subject to division.
Gifts between spouses also present a unique challenge. If one high-income spouse gifts the home to the other or places it entirely in their name, the intent and timing of the gift can influence whether the home is viewed as a marital or separate asset. Documentation, such as a deed or a prenuptial agreement specifying the property’s status, can provide crucial evidence in these cases.
The emotional weight of what a home represents makes its legal classification all the more significant. We at The Bardine Law Firm are committed to helping you through these complex legal and emotional terrains. Reach out to us today to get started on this lengthy process of protecting this important and monumental asset.
How to Protect Your Home During Divorce
If you are in love with your home and want to keep it in your hands, your former spouse often feels the same way. Here are some strategies for keeping your home that your attorney can work on with you:
- Buyout Strategy: One of the most straightforward ways to retain home ownership is to buy out your spouse’s share. This approach necessitates sufficient liquidity and may require you to refinance your mortgage. Ensure you have a clear understanding of your financial capabilities before opting for this route.
- Asset Trade-Off: If liquidity is a concern, consider trading off other assets of equivalent value to keep the home. This could involve relinquishing your stake in joint retirement accounts, investment portfolios, or even other real estate properties. The key here is to identify assets that both parties find valuable but are willing to part with to retain the home.
Regardless of your chosen strategy, an accurate home valuation will be involved, helping guide the decision-making process. Hiring a professional appraiser to determine the home’s market value provides a solid foundation for negotiations or buyouts. A fair evaluation should be the goal, as inflating or deflating values based on your strategy can lead to complications and accusations of bad faith later on down the road.
Protecting Other Assets
Apart from the marital home, you may have other assets that hold significant financial and sentimental value. Here’s how to protect them:
- Postnuptial Agreements for Business: If you’re a business owner, a postnuptial agreement can be a lifesaver. These documents outline how your business assets will be valued and divided in the event of a divorce. It’s a proactive way to safeguard your business from becoming a point of contention during asset division.
- Documenting Sentimental Items: Family heirlooms, personal gifts, and other items with sentimental value should be meticulously documented. Use photographs and professional appraisals to establish these items as separate property, ensuring they remain with you post-divorce.
Contact A Florida Divorce Attorney Today
Protecting your assets, especially your home, can often be the focus of one’s divorce. The Bardine Law Firm offers specialized divorce services to help you leave your marriage in possession of these prized assets. Contact us today at (727) 605-7078 or through our website to secure your assets and future.