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What to do with the marital home during your divorce

For many couples in Florida, the marital home is their most valuable asset. Some people also have a sentimental attachment to their homes, so deciding what should happen to the home during a divorce proceeding can be extremely difficult.

Ultimately, divorcing couples often have to choose between one of two options: selling the marital home and dividing the equity, or one spouse getting the marital home as part of his or her share of the property settlement.

Deciding which option to choose depends on many factors, including whether either spouse has a strong desire to stay in the home, and the ability of the spouse who wants to stay to keep up with payments on the home -- with or without the help of alimony payments.

If one spouse does decide to stay in the home, the other spouse will need to be removed from the mortgage by refinancing the loan. That means the spouse who stays in the home must be able to qualify for a new mortgage on his or her own (or with a co-signer).

The spouse that moves out must be taken off of the mortgage or he or she could be held liable if payments are not made on the home.

Of course, the first issue that needs to be addressed is whether the home is considered martial property in the first place.

If the home was purchased by one spouse prior to the marriage, but marital funds were used to make payments on the home, then the equity in the home is likely both separate and marital property in nature. But if the home was inherited by one spouse, it is possible that the home could be considered separate property and not subject to division during divorce.

An experienced family law attorney can weigh in all of these issues and provide advice geared toward your unique situation. 

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