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When the Court Lets You Keep the House, While Also Awarding Half of Its Value to Your Ex-Spouse


No two divorce judgments are alike; equitable distribution means dividing the couple’s property in a way that is fair, and that is different for every couple.  Sometimes one spouse needs and wants the marital home much more than the other one does, in which case it is fair for him or her to keep it.  Sometimes they would both rather have cash than a house where their marriage fell apart, in which case selling the house is the best option.  Some couples have been living separately for years by the time they file for divorce, in which case the court uses the financial arrangements they followed before their divorce as a guide for equitable distribution.  No matter which of the marital assets is most important to you, a South Florida divorce lawyer will help you keep it after your divorce.

The House Is Yours Alone, Unless You Sell It

Richard and Zaira Morgan married in the 1990s and bought a house together in Broward County.  When Richard moved out in 2004, Zaira remained in the house, supporting herself and the couple’s minor children on her disability income.  Richard contributed little, if anything, to the household expenses.

The couple divorced in 2013.  By the time of their divorce, they were both disabled.  It appears that their children had reached adulthood by the time they divorced.  The only valuable asset they owned.  In the divorce case, Zaira requested that she be given exclusive use of the house; in exchange for this right, she waived her right to alimony.  Therefore, in dissolving their marriage, the court declared that Zaira would be allowed to stay in the house and Richard would not be permitted to reside there, except in the event of Zaira’s death or remarriage.  Richard would not be required to pay alimony to Zaira or to contribute to house-related expenses.  The title to the house, however, would remain in both parties’ names, and if they sold it, they would be required to share the proceeds of the sale equally.

Zaira later appealed the judgment, seeking relief for the $40,000 in property taxes and homeowner’s association fees she had paid on the house since she had moved out.  She also requested that, if the parties were to sell the house, she would receive 75 percent of the proceeds of the sale.  The court rejected these aspects of Zaira’s appeal.  It reasoned that she had willingly waived her right to alimony and agreed to the provision in which she could have exclusive possession of the house indefinitely as long as Richard could get half the proceeds if the house sold.  It also reasoned that Richard’s living expenses were higher than Zaira’s, so he was in no position to pay alimony.

Reach Out to Us Today for Help

Sometimes informal agreements between estranged spouses do not translate well into permanent, formal terms of divorce.  Contact the Boca Raton divorce lawyers at Schwartz | White for help today.




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