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Who Gets the Home?
In most cases, a divorcing couple considers their marital home to be their biggest asset - and the marital home continues to be one issue that is often contested. So how does a Florida divorce judge decide who gets to keep the home?
What is Best for the Children?
When deciding on which spouse is to keep the marital home, one factor to take into consideration is the children and what is best for them. Generally, the custodial parent is awarded the exclusive possession and use of the marital home, at least until the children become emancipated.
Who Left the Marital Home First?
Often when the couple can afford to do so, one spouse leaves the marital home and stays elsewhere. This scenario can create the impression that the spouse who has moved out does not want the marital home, and that he or she is financially capable to help pay the mortgage on the marital home and the rent for his or her new home.
If, however, there is animosity between the two parties and the environment is unhealthy for the rest of the family, then the wisest decision would be for one spouse to leave the marital home.
What if Both Parties Cannot Afford the Marital Home?
It does happen that neither party can afford to keep and maintain the marital home. When the home seems more like a liability than an asset, here are two of the options to be considered:
There is no clear-cut rule as to who gets the marital home. The decision is based on factors such as the parent with primary custody of the children, the financial interest of both parties, and perhaps even who continues to live in the home throughout the divorce process.
Florida requires an equitable distribution of the marital property (what is fair, not necessarily equal). Each spouse keeps the property and debts that belonged to them before the marriage. Each spouse also keeps any property received as a gift or inheritance, or any property that the spouses agree to divide in a written agreement. Any property that was acquired before the spouses married or that was received as a gift or inheritance is not considered marital property. If the spouses cannot come to an agreement, a court will divide the property and the debt.
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"A Plain English Guide to Protecting Your Children"
Author: Mary L. Boland, Attorney at Law
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