Should I Automatically Sell the Marital Home During My Divorce, Or Consider Living with My Spouse for The Sake of the Children?
As attorneys who assist clients with divorce every day here in Florida, one of the most difficult property division questions that we deal with is what to do with the marital home. Deciding what happens to your home during divorce can be especially difficult if a couple shares children and is thinking about staying at the home together until the divorce is finalized. While some couples may have already decided that they want to sell the home or buy the other one out, there are also circumstances where both want to keep the home, as well as a number of hurdles that can come up along the way; regardless of what your preference is.
The Pros Of Selling Quickly & Moving Into Separate Residences
There are of course both personal and financial benefits to simply selling the marital home and moving on quickly in the process. Not only does it free up funds so that both parties can go their own separate ways, but there are also personal and financial benefits to simply selling and moving on quickly in the process, such as providing closure for a couple. For some, it is also the only option, as it is simply not financially feasible to maintain multiple residences before things are finalized.
Florida follows the policy of equitable distribution, which is arguably the easiest option. Unless the property has been kept as separate property by one of the individuals, the home is either sold and the proceeds are divided between the parties, or one party refinances the mortgage and buys the other party out.
When Things Get More Complicated…
However, sometimes things aren’t that easy: Some couples find themselves both wanting to keep the home, or the party who wants to keep the home can’t afford to do so, or the property’s value is now less than the mortgage, or in foreclosure, or behind in payments, etc. Things can get especially difficult if there are children involved and an interest in keeping them in the home where they grew up.
What About Staying Together Just Until Things Are Finalized?
Whether or not a couple should stay in the same home during the divorce is another common question that comes up in our discussions with clients. Like everything else with divorce, there are no black-and-white answers because every case and circumstance is unique. That being said, there are a number of factors that should be weighed first, such as:
- Is it even possible for parties to live together peacefully during the divorce? If a couple is staying in the same home during the divorce because they feel that it is best for their children, but also constantly fighting throughout the process, this can actually cause more damage than simply splitting residences;
- Can the couple financially afford multiple residences before the divorce is finalized?
- What are the ultimate goals in terms of child custody and visitation arrangements? It is important to know that it is possible that one parent leaving the home – and children – with the other parent just for the sake of not living in the same residence during the divorce process could negatively affect custody and visitation decisions made in court, especially if there is a pattern of one parent consistently taking care of the children more frequently than the other. This is why you always want to work with an attorney to make sure that there is at least a temporary (but official) plan in place so that you do not risk losing your rights;
- Some judges might be leery of granting a divorce where parties are still living in the same house.
Contact Our Florida Divorce Attorneys with Any Questions
Regardless of whatever questions you might have about the divorce process and all of the many important decisions that come along with it, we are here to help. Contact our Orlando divorce attorneys at Arwani Law Firm, PLLC today to find out more about our services.