Can I Still Get Equity from a House I Moved Out of After a Divorce?

February 22, 2019

One of the questions we most commonly hear in divorce cases in which the spouses owned a home together is whether or not the client should move out of the marital home after one of the parties files the divorce paperwork. It is, of course, inevitable that the spouses will no longer live together at some point, at least once the divorce process is complete (and typically before then). However, the decision to move out of the marital home can affect a lot of circumstances involving the divorce, and thus requires careful planning and consideration. It should not be a decision made with haste or based on emotions.

With this in mind, here is some information from a divorce lawyer in Miami, FL.

Handling the marital home in a divorce

The marital home is almost certainly going to be the largest, most valuable asset that the parties share, and thus is perhaps the most important asset in the asset division process. In some circumstances, one spouse may have bought the house long before the marriage, possibly even before they even knew the other spouse. In these circumstances, the house might be considered a non-marital asset, which makes matters simpler for the purposes of the divorce—the house would simply go to the person who owned it before the marriage.

There are also circumstances in which a home is purchased either right before or during a marriage, with the intent for both parties to live there as a married couple and family.

In Florida, a home purchased by a married couple is held “in tenancy by the entireties,” a type of ownership that can only exist with married couples. The deed for the property will indicate the couple was married at the time of purchase. Only married couples can purchase property in this manner. If the parties then divorce, the “tenancy by the entireties” is dissolved, and both parties are instead joint tenants of the property.

There are some similarities to these ownership arrangements. In each, for example, the parties own 100 percent of the property. If the home is sold, the equity is divided in half, unless there are special circumstances in which one party is awarded a larger share by the courts.

A party that moves out does not lose legal interest in or legal right to the property. In some circumstances, your attorney may actually recommend that you move out to avoid troublesome issues in the home, especially if there’s a chance they could affect the results of child custody hearings. You will still be able to benefit from your share of equity in the house if you move out.

But still, your best bet is to talk to your divorce lawyer in Miami, FL about your specific circumstances. Everyone’s situation is different in a divorce, and a skilled attorney can provide you with advice specific to your circumstances. If you’re just beginning the process, reach out to the Law Offices of Granoff & Kessler today to learn more.

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