When a married couple buys a house, they ordinarily have joint ownership over it. As a result, both spouses have an equal and undivided right to live in the home. After a divorce, most couples usually aren’t too keen on continuing the previous living arrangement. However, since both spouses have an equal right to live there, how does a court determine who gets to live in the house after a divorce? This blog explains the factors courts analyze to resolve this legal issue.
Awarding Exclusive Possession to the Marital Residence
Florida courts have the authority to grant exclusive occupancy of the marital residence to one spouse for one of three reasons: 1) for purposes connected to a spousal support obligation; 2) to prevent the diminution in value of the home; or 3) for a “special purpose.”
A court may award spousal support – also known as “alimony” – to a spouse who has a demonstrable need for financial aid if the other spouse has the means to pay for it. The supporting spouse can either satisfy their spousal support obligation through periodic payments or with a single lump sum payment. Courts have awarded the marital residence to a party seeking spousal support to function like a lump sum payment for spousal support.
Property Value Preservation
Courts can award exclusive possession of the marital residence as a temporary measure to preserve the home’s value. When a court divides marital assets between the spouses, it also has the power to order a partition by sale, selling the house and equally distributing the proceeds between the spouses. However, if a partition by sale is conducted in a recessed house market, the court can temporarily award exclusive possession of the home to one of the parties until market conditions improve.
A court may award one spouse exclusive possession of the marital residence over the other if the award is equitable and just and serves a special purpose. A typical example of a “special purpose” justifying exclusive possession of the marital residence is to serve the best interests of the couple’s minor children. Courts often award exclusive occupancy to the parent with primary or sole custody of minor children until the minor child or children reaches 18 years old.
Experienced Legal Services from an Altamonte Springs Divorce Attorney
If you are going through a challenging divorce, you don’t have to deal with it by yourself. At the Law Office of Russell S. Hershkowitz, LLC, we are committed to providing Altamonte Springs residents with compassionate representation in various divorce issues. Our clients benefit from personalized attention to the unique circumstances of your case, and so can you. With more than 25 years of family law litigation experience, our legal team, led by Attorney Russell S. Hershkowitz, is ready to promote you and your family’s best interests.
Contact us at (407) 753-4111 to schedule a free initial case evaluation.