What happens to a house owned by one spouse in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jul 30, 2020 | Divorce |

Splitting up your assets will likely be one of the more difficult steps in getting a divorce. Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that they focus on fairness when splitting your assets in a contested divorce. Generally, only marital property is subject to division. Certain possessions remain separate and exempt from division with your spouse.

Things that people owned prior to marriage, assets designated as separate property in marital agreements and inheritances are among the assets that will typically be separate property that don’t get split in a divorce. Identifying your separate property is an important part of securing the best possible outcome to the asset division process, as it allows you to protect assets from division.

Some people may try to claim the home that they lived in with their spouse as separate property. One spouse owning the house prior to marriage is a common reason why they might try to exclude the home from property division. However, a shared marital home often becomes partially marital property, with at least part of its value subject to division.

People often use marital assets to pay for and maintain a house

While one spouse may have purchased the home outright previously, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they have sole ownership of that home. Especially in the case of a financed home, the spouse may have a partial claim to some of the equity.

The income earned during a marriage is typically marital property. If you use marital property to cover the costs of a mortgage, the taxes and insurance for the property or other, similar expenses, that means that marital resources have gone to the maintenance and upkeep of the property. The courts may determine that the equity accrued during the marriage may be subject to division if you use marital assets to care or pay for the home.

Just because your spouse should receive some of the equity doesn’t mean you have to sell the house. You may be able to refinance the property or use other assets to offset the value of their fair share of the equity accrued during your marriage.