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A High Net Worth Divorce Where Neither Spouse Wanted to Keep the Marital Home


If the court decides that you get to keep the marital home after your divorce, it means that you win, right?  Not always.  You might struggle to keep up with the mortgage payments if you have to pay them solely out of your income.  If the court awards you the house, but you don’t want to keep it, can’t you just sell it?  Technically, yes, but selling a house is never easy.  It is especially difficult when you have just gone through a divorce and would be just as happy never to see another piece of paperwork or to negotiate about money ever again.  Given how quickly housing prices can plummet, sometimes getting to keep the marital home is worse than if the court had awarded all your marital property to your ex, even if said marital property was worth millions of dollars, and left you with only the clothes on your back.  If you and your spouse are at an impasse regarding what will happen to your expensive marital home when you divorce, contact a Palm Beach high net worth divorce lawyer.

No One Wants the Marital Home After a Stock Market Crash

Elizabeth and James married in 1986, when she was 29 and he was 45.  They stayed married for 21 years and did not have children together.  James worked as a lawyer at a small law firm of which he was the majority owner; his salary was $400,000 per year when the parties separated, but the law firm was deeply in debt.  Early in the marriage, Elizabeth worked as a business executive.  She then studied for a master’s degree in landscape architecture, and while she made many professional connections in her field after she graduated, she earned less than a full-time income.  The couple’s net worth was about $9 million, but they lived beyond their means.

The couple bought a house in Palm Beach in 2001 and lived there together until James moved out.  He bought a less expensive house for himself in West Palm Beach.  While their divorce was pending, Elizabeth decided that she, too, wanted to move to a more affordable house.  In their marital settlement agreement, the parties left some matters of division of property up to the court.  When the divorce was finalized in 2009, the court awarded the Palm Beach marital home to Elizabeth.  It also awarded her one year of bridge-the-gap alimony, to enable her to sell the house and move to a new residence.  It warrants mention that, in 2009, the housing market was in terrible shape and Elizabeth could expect to sell the house for a much lower price than what the couple had originally paid.  Elizabeth appealed the judgment, requesting permanent alimony instead, but the appeals court upheld the original judgment.  The court reasoned that, since Elizabeth was only 50 years old and had a master’s degree, her earning potential was enough that she did not need permanent alimony.

Let Us Help You Today

A Boca Raton divorce lawyer can help you get an equitable distribution of marital property so you can be financially stable after your divorce, even if you and your spouse lived beyond your means while you were married.  Contact Schwartz | White for help with your case.




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