Who Gets the Family House in a Tampa Divorce?
When you are going through a divorce, one of the scariest things to consider is what will happen to your family home. Typically, the family home is the most valuable asset in your divorce. While the divorce is pending, it can be confusing in some cases to determine who should stay in the home. Most couples who are getting a divorce no longer want to be under the same roof, but does that mean the spouse who leaves gives up their right to the home?
Every divorce is different. You have different circumstances, varied assets, and different goals. That can leave a lot of unanswered questions on what happens to the family home. That is why it’s crucial to contact a Tampa family law attorney as soon as you file for divorce or are served with divorce papers.
Exclusive Occupancy Rights
If spouses cannot reach an agreement on who should move out during the divorce, the court may opt to grant exclusive occupancy rights to one spouse. This means one spouse has “exclusive use and possession” of the home, no matter the legal ownership status. The order is only temporary, though, and could change pending the final divorce judgment.
Determining Whether the House is Separate or Marital Property
One of the first steps in determining how to handle assets like the family home is to verify who the rightful owner is. Did one party purchase the home before the marriage? How is the house titled? These are questions that your attorney will answer that can help reveal whether the house is a marital asset or not.
Do not assume that just because the house is in one party’s name, the other spouse is not entitled to a percentage of the value. If the home was commingled with other marital assets, a family court judge might declare it is marital property. If you and your spouse were married 30 years and lived exclusively in that house, it will likely be considered marital property, no matter what the title says.
Determining Who Gets the House
If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement, it will be up to the judge to render a decision. The only real two options are that one spouse gets it, or neither one does. Possible outcomes include:
- Selling the House: If neither spouse can afford to keep the home, then the court will determine it should be sold and net proceeds distributed equitably.
- Deferring the Sale: If you have children, and you can still afford the house, the court might allow the spouse with the majority of time-sharing to remain in the home until the children are adults. Once the children turn 18 or become emancipated, you would sell the house and divide the proceeds equitably.
- Buying the Other Spouse Out: If one of you wants the house and the other spouse doesn’t, another option is to buy out your spouse’s equitable share. This won’t work for every couple, especially if someone cannot refinance the home independently. There’s a risk of keeping both spouses on the mortgage as any missed payments will still affect you both.
Contact a Tampa Divorce Lawyer Today
If you need assistance with your Florida divorce and property settlement agreement, let an experienced Tampa family law attorney help. Contact Faulkner Law Group, PLLC, today to schedule an initial consultation.