How Do I Decide What to Do About the Marital Home and Living Arrangements During My Divorce?
As attorneys who practice family law here in Florida, counseling clients on what to do with their home during the divorce is one of the most important conversations we have when it comes to property division-related discussions. This not only involves questions of whether or not a couple should sell the home, or should one buy the other out, etc., but also whether or not they should physically inhabit the same home during the divorce process.
The Benefits of Selling & Separate Residences
There are both financial and personal benefits associated with selling the marital home and living in separate residences before the divorce is finalized: The profits can enable that separation and independence, as well as provide a feeling of emotional and legal closure for a couple. In fact, for a number of couples, being able to afford multiple residences before the divorce is finalized isn’t even an option financially.
In states like Florida, equitable distribution is the default when it comes to property division, which can enable a certain amount of simplicity. If the home is sold, the proceeds are divided, or one party refinances the mortgage and buys out the other party’s interest.
If Complications Arise
However, things aren’t always so easy: Sometimes both parties want to keep the home, or one party wants to keep it and cannot afford to, or the value of the home is now less than the mortgage, or in foreclosure, or the couple is behind in payments, etc. Sometimes there is also interest in keeping the children in the home where they grew up, which can also add additional complexity.
Deciding Whether to Live Together During the Divorce
A related question that we sometimes receive is whether a couple should remain in the same home until the divorce is finalized. While this question sometimes comes up for financial reasons, some also have an interest in trying to do this with the thought that it might be better for the children.
Like many other questions that come up in divorce, there are no black and white answers because every case is different. Still, there are some factors you may want to consider in making this decision, such as:
- Is it possible for you to live peacefully together in the home during the process? While some may be staying together for the sake of the children, if there is a lot of fighting and arguments, this may be more harmful to the children than staying in separate residences
- Can the couple afford separate residences before the divorce is finalized?
- What are the ultimate goals in terms of child custody and visitation arrangements? It is important to note that one parent moving out and leaving the children with the other parent just for the sake of establishing separate residences during the process can weigh negatively against them in terms of final custody and visitation awarded by the court. This is why you want to make sure that every decision that you make is done after consulting an attorney, as a temporary order – because it is official – can help prevent this kind of prejudice and loss of rights
- Also note that some judges view a couple living together during the divorce as questionable, as though perhaps it is a statement that the marriage is not irretrievably broken.
Contact Our Florida Divorce Attorneys to Find Out More
Regardless of your questions or concerns, our Orlando family attorneys are here to help. Contact us today at Greater Orlando Family Law to find out more about our services.