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Selling the Marital Home In Divorce Is Not Always a Road to Riches


The web pages of divorce law firms will tell you that the goal in divorce is to divide marital assets in the fairest possible way; this is the meaning of “equitable distribution,” the rule that the Florida family courts follow when determining how to divide the marital property.  Of course, compared to your own financial situation, this all seems like so much aspirational advertising.  Millions of households live paycheck to paycheck, and, given the cost of mortgages, you might have a negative net worth, even if you own your house.  One need look no farther than celebrity gossip news sites to find out that divorce is complicated when you are wealthy, but divorce is also complicated when the parties are as broke as you and everyone with whom you interact on a daily basis.  Divorce is not just about dividing marital assets; it is also about dividing marital debts.  A home mortgage and the home that secures it can complicate a divorce case considerably.  A Boca Raton divorce lawyer can help you emerge from your divorce in a good position to rebuild your finances, whether you end up keeping the marital home or selling it.

When Does It Make Sense for One Spouse to Keep the Marital Home?

If the marital home is paid off, then it is fairly simple for one spouse to keep the house and pay the other an equalizing payment (sometimes known as lump sum alimony) equal to the vacating spouse’s share of ownership in the house at the time the divorce petition was filed.  If the house is encumbered by a mortgage, however, things are more complicated.  If the family has minor children, it makes sense for the children to continue living in the house, since it determines which schools they can attend.  The parent who has parenting time on school days usually keeps the marital home, and the mortgage, which counts as a housing expense for the children, is a factor in determining the amount of child support.  If the mortgage was in both spouses’ names during the marriage, the court may order the spouse who keeps the house to refinance the mortgage so that it is in his or her name only.

Selling Your House Is Doubly Stressful When You Are Going Through a Divorce

If neither spouse can afford to keep the marital home or refinance the mortgage, then selling the house may be the best option.  The process of selling a house can be fraught with conflict even under the best of circumstances.  You will probably need your lawyer’s help with matters such as deciding which purchase offer to accept or dividing the proceeds of the sale, if there is anything left to divide after you use the proceeds to pay the remaining balance on the mortgage.

Contact Schwartz | White About Selling the Marital Home in Divorce

A South Florida family law attorney can help you if you must sell your marital home in order to finalize your divorce.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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