Divorce & Splitting Your Florida Real Estate

Facing a separation, in the middle of a divorce, or recently made single again? What do you need to know about the law and your Florida real estate, as well as the smartest financial moves to make?

When facing one of these scenarios it is important to:

  1. Know the law and how it affects you
  2. Know what you really want most out of the situation
  3. Know where to get affordable, professional assistance

The Law

When a husband and wife purchase real estate in Florida they effectively do so as a single entity. The property belongs to both of them, and cannot be split up by shares. Both parties also have the legal right to be made aware of any financial and title dealings associated with the primary residence and family home. That means one partner cannot go take out a loan on the homestead property without the other signing to confirm they are aware. The property cannot be sold without the consent of both parties. This can cause some headaches if real estate holdings are not cleanly divided and liquidated at the time of divorce. You can imagine your ex may not be highly motivated to come back into town months later and sign so that you can refinance the property with your new partner, or sell it to buy another with someone else. This is a situation which does arise. Hopefully you have secured a strong title insurance company which can help facilitate a remedy.

Getting What You Really Need & Want

While this can be an emotionally charged time, it is important to be objective. Look forward. What will be most important? For most it is a fresh start, preserving finances, and ensuring a smoother home life going forward.

With this in mind it is always best if a couple can amicably agree on the disposition and liquidation of any Florida real estate they own. If you try to crush the other party you’ll almost inevitably be worse off financially in the long run, and you can bet they’ll make things difficult too.

Things to look for are the best ways to minimize debt and financial obligations, and ensure you are best positioned in any current or future child custody hearings. That normally means selling the current home and ensuring both partners have adequate new housing including sufficient bedrooms, etc.

Florida courts may come up with judgements which state one party may retain the property, or the property should be refinanced in one person’s name. Rarely do these arrangements mesh with what mortgage lenders will allow. You don’t want to be stuck obligated to a loan on a home you no longer live in, and you don’t want to be stuck with payments you can’t afford and which will result in you losing the property anyway.

Execution

Of course when a separating couple decides to try and sell their Florida property there can be issues that arise. For example; who will pay the taxes owed? Who will get which items? How will any cash proceeds from the sale be split? Obviously you may not be able to agree on these items right now. If a judge has not blocked the sale of your assets then you may want to seize on the opportunity to sell quickly, have the proceeds put into escrow with an attorney, and have it held until the agreement is finalized.

Whatever your case make sure you get personalized legal advice from a professional. If you don’t wish to battle this out in court and burn through all of the equity you have, you may find referral to affordable legal help through your Florida title insurance company.