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Home is where the heart is: What to do about the marital home

The process of getting divorced can be complicated whether you have been married for a couple years or 50 years. However, the more you and your spouse have accumulated together over the years, the trickier it is to decide how to split it all as part of the divorce process.

Assets that a couple may need to split during a divorce proceeding in Florida range from retirement accounts to motor vehicles and even a family business. However, one of the biggest points of contention during property division is the marital home. After all, not only does the marital home connect both parties physically, but it may connect them emotionally as well.

What happens to the family home?

The big question when it comes to the family home is: Who gets to keep the house? This really depends on the particular circumstances of your divorce. For example, if you and your spouse have children, the party who does most of the child-rearing will generally keep the family home.

In addition, if one of you bought the residence with separate funds -- in other words, with your own money prior to the marriage -- and you do not have children, then that party can keep the home and legally make the other party vacate the premises.

Other family home considerations

If you and your soon-to-be ex do not have children, courts vary in how they distribute the home. You do not have the legal right to ask your future ex to leave, but you can certainly always request that he or she leave. If the two of you cannot come to an agreement on this, the court will end up deciding what will happen based on state law.

Property distribution process

The easiest way to handle the division of your marital home in Florida is for you and your spouse to reach an agreement on it at the negotiation table. In this way, you can divide your home without further court intrusion, which can be much more stressful, drawn out and complicated than divorce negotiation.

Understanding the law as well as your personal financial situation can help you to determine the best course of action to take -- whether to keep the home or to move on to another property that will be easier and less expensive for you to keep up by yourself in the coming years, for example.

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