Florida has one of the highest divorce rates in the US. In 2019, there were 3.6 divorces per thousand inhabitants in the state, translating to a rate of 13 percent. Florida residents get divorced for numerous reasons, including domestic violence, infidelity, simmering differences, or simply because the couples don’t like each other anymore. If you’re going through a divorce in Florida, one question that probably crosses your mind is who will get the house.
What Is the Divorce Process in Florida?
In Florida, marriages can only end by divorce or annulment. Notably, legal separation is not an option in the state. The main requirement to initiate the divorce process is a claim by one of the spouses that the union is “irretrievably broken” or that the other partner is mentally incapacitated. Other requirements include:
● Residency: To file for a divorce in Florida, one spouse should have lived in the state for at least six months before starting the divorce process.
● Mental incapacity requirements: There are several requirements that must be met before a spouse is declared mentally incapacitated in a divorce process. Essentially, one of the spouses must have been determined to be legally incapacitated for at least three years. If you are considering filing for divorce on the grounds of mental incapacity, it’s advisable that you retain the services of an experienced lawyer.
● 20 Days To File Response: Once the dissolution of the marriage process is initiated and the opposing party is served, the respondent has 20 days to file a response. You can also request more time to negotiate and agree on sensitive issues like alimony, child support and custody, and division of assets.
The General Marital Property Rule in Florida
In Florida, any property procured by either spouse during the marriage is considered marital property. Ideally, marital properties in Florida are divided 50/50 upon the dissolution of the marriage. However, the non-marital properties you or your spouse acquired before the marriage are not divided equally. The rule implies that if you and your spouse purchased a house together during your marriage, it would be divided equally.
What Are the Factors to Consider During a Divorce in Florida?
Although an equitable division is the standard martial rule in Florida, a judge who believes a 50/50 split is unfair to one party can divide the property in a different proportion determine by several factors such as:
● The length of your marriage
● Each of the party’s contributions to the marriage as a homemaker or parent
● A spouse’s contributions to the education or career of the other
● Each of the spouse’s current economic status
● The liabilities that each spouse encounters during the marriage
● A spouse’s intentional waste, depletion, destruction of the marital assets once the petition for divorce is filed
How to Split a Home in Florida
Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means assets are split up based on their value. Therefore, it is crucial first to determine the value of your home before you split it up. Once its value is ascertained, you will have a few options for fairly splitting up the house:
● Buyouts: This is an arrangement where one spouse buys out the other. The spouse willing to keep the house pays the other spouse 50% of the assessed value.
● Primary caregiver: If you have children, the partner with child custody rights will likely get the house. The court prioritizes the welfare of the children in a divorce case.
● Selling: If you cannot agree on a buyout arrangement, you can decide to sell the home and split the proceeds of the sale 50/50.
How to Handle a Mortgage in Florida
If a home is not sold during a divorce in Florida, the spouse who keeps the house may be required to make the monthly mortgage payments. Should the spouse required to make payments fail to do so, both parties are liable. You may need to seek indemnification from the spouse required to pay under the divorce settlement agreement. To avoid such scenarios, it is best to work with an experienced divorce attorney to help remove you from mortgage responsibility if you are not the responsible party.
How Bergman Family Law Can Help
If you’re considering a divorce in Florida, Bergman Family Law can help you with the division of assets. I am committed to helping you achieve efficient and painless resolutions for your difficult situations. Bergman Family Law is located in the greater Miami area and mainly deals with divorce, post-judgment modifications, alimony, child support, prenups, and domestic violence. With expansive practice experience in Florida, Harrison Bergman will work faster and harder than any other! Contact me today to learn more.