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Can I Get More than 50% Home Equity in a Divorce?

Friday, September 1, 2017

In Florida, divorcing parties may be awarded more than 50% of their home's equity in some instances. Whether a party living in Coral Springs is entitled to more than 50% of the home's equity — or any equity at all — is dependent on the factors set forth in Florida Statute 61.075(1)(a)-(j).

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Broward County courts begin with the premise that both parties in a divorce are entitled to an equal share of the marital assets. Often, but not always, the equity in the parties' house is the asset with the most value. Statute 61.075 provides for certain situations that may warrant an unequal distribution of assets. Some of the factors your divorce lawyer could argue to be considered include:

  • (a) The contribution to the marriage by each party, including child care and home making.
  • (b) How well each party is doing financially.
  • (c) How long the parties have been married.
  • (d) Whether either party had to change (or end) careers because of the marriage or forgo educational opportunities because of the marriage.
  • (e) Whether either party contributed to the career or college education of the other party.
  • (f) Whether it is necessary to keep an asset intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party.
  • (g) Whether and how much each party contributed to acquiring and enhancing the value of assets, marital and nonmarital.
  • (h) Whether it would be in the children's best interest to stay in the marital home until they are legal adults.
  • (i) Whether either party has deliberated wasted the value of any assets.
  • (j) Any other factor that the court feels is necessary to consider in order to be fair and just.

If a party desires to be awarded more than 50% of the Coral Springs home's equity, his or her family law attorney would first need to determine whether the home is a marital or non-marital asset. If the home was purchased during the marriage, with marital funds, it is a marital asset. If the home was purchased prior to the marriage, with non-marital funds, it may not be a marital asset. If the home is not a marital asset, it may still be possible to be awarded a portion of the home's equity, such as if one party contributed toward payment of the mortgage on the home or contributed significantly for renovations or improvements during the marriage.

Assuming that the home is a marital asset, a person desiring to be awarded more than 50% of the home's equity would need to plead for an unequal distribution of assets in the petition for dissolution of marriage, setting forth any factors that the court should consider. The party should be prepared to back up any claim for an unequal distribution of assets by cooperating with mandatory disclosure and other forms of discovery.

Determination of non-marital assets and distribution of marital assets and liabilities are complex issues. Each situation is unique. The bottom line is that a party can be awarded more than 50% of their home's equity, if their particular case meets the criteria for such an award. A highly-experienced Coral Springs family lawyer should be retained prior to filing a motion of this type.

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