Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that you’re entitled to roughly half of the marital estate in a divorce. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll get 50% ownership or 50% equity in every asset that was acquired in the marriage. For instance, you may be allowed to keep the family home in exchange for another item in the marital estate.
Keeping a family home
You have the right to ask for sole ownership of real property in a divorce settlement. Of course, you will need to pay your spouse roughly half of the home’s equity in exchange for doing so. This is typically done by refinancing the existing mortgage or by making a lump sum payment using funds in a bank account. It may also be possible to buyout your spouse through a series of installment payments. Ideally, you will only keep the home if you can afford holding, maintenance and other costs over the next several years.
Liquidating the family home
The other option is to cede the property to your spouse or sell it to another party. A judge may order the house to be sold if other arrangements can’t be made for you or your spouse to take control of it. The exact timing of the sale can be negotiated as part of a divorce settlement reached in mediation or with the help of a judge.
A family home is typically the most valuable asset acquired during a marriage. However, before deciding whether to keep or sell it, you should determine how much it would cost to retain versus how much it may appreciate over time. Furthermore, you should compare the overall return on a home compared to other assets such as a retirement account when determining your final decision.