This is the next post in my series on the process of dividing a home’s equity during a Melbourne, Florida divorce. My last article provided an overview of topics which this series will be addressing. It also stressed the need to speak with an attorney if you have questions about your particular situation. It is advised that you speak with counsel sooner, rather than later, as the legal issues stemming from home equity can become complicated rather quickly. An experienced lawyer can help you to understand those issues. In this article I will generally address the topic of whether a home’s equity is “marital” in nature. If you require assistance then contact my office today to speak with a lawyer.
Under Florida divorce law, property that is acquired during a marriage is generally considered “marital” while property acquired before a marriage is generally considered “separate.” During a divorce, marital property will be divided between the spouses while separate property will not factor into the Court’s financial calculations. In a case where the spouses acquired a home during the marriage, then dividing any equity, upon divorce, is relatively straightforward. Matters can become complicated, however, when a home was purchased before the marriage and mortgage payments were then made with marital funds.
A marital interest may be created in a home, which was purchased before the marriage, when marital funds are used to make monthly mortgage payments. When deciding how much of the equity should be “marital” the Court will consider the value of the home at the time when the parties wed, the value of the home at the time of the divorce, whether appreciation was caused by improvements to the home and the source of funding for those improvements, as well as other factors. This concept is best explained through an example. Say Jack owns a home, with a mortgage, and then he marries Jill. The wages from Jack and Jill’s respective jobs would both generally be considered marital property. If these wages are used to pay the monthly mortgage then Jill will likely have an interest in the home’s equity at the time of divorce. The extent to which she will have an interest in the equity will depend on the specific facts of the case.
If you are involved in a divorce then it is important that you discuss your specific situation with an attorney. No two cases are the same and how the Court will rule in any given instance is going to depend on the facts of the matter. Experienced counsel can help you to understand both your rights and your options. As a Melbourne, Florida divorce lawyer I am able to handle such matters. Contact my office today for assistance. We also service clients in the Brevard County cities of Titusville, Cocoa, Palm Bay, Grant, Valkaria, and Rockledge, as well as in the Indian River County areas of Fellsmere, Sebastian, Vero Beach, Indian River Shores, and Orchid.