A major question in almost every divorce is “who gets the home?” However, some Florida divorces involve more than one home, which can make property division more complicated.
If you and your spouse own more than one piece of property, such as a main home and a vacation home, you have a few different options for how to deal with the vacation home.
Equitable distribution in Florida
Florida uses an equitable distribution model when dividing property in a divorce. Many people assume that equitable means equal and that all marital assets and debts are split evenly.
This is not necessarily true. Equitable means fair. The court’s goal when making decisions about dividing marital property is to achieve the fairest outcome for both spouses.
You and your spouse can always come to your own agreement on how to divide your property, instead of letting a court decide. This can allow you to feel like you had some control over the decision.
Let’s look at your options. Perhaps neither you nor your spouse want to keep the vacation home.
Selling the home
The solution here is relatively simple. You can choose to sell the vacation home and split the proceeds after paying off any debts.
Depending on the real estate market, you could also rent out the home and agree to split the rental proceeds.
The downside to this option is that you and your spouse will likely have to maintain some sort of relationship after your divorce, since you will still be co-owners of a property.
This can work for some couples, but if you are looking forward to getting your spouse out of your life permanently after your divorce, this option might not be the best.
One spouse keeps the home
If only one of you wants to keep the vacation home, that spouse can buy out the other spouse. The spouse that keeps the vacation home will be responsible for any expenses associated with the property.
How to split the vacation home becomes trickier when both you and your spouse want to keep it.
Both of you keep the home
An option in this situation, although less common and not exactly ideal, is that you both continue to co-own the vacation home and agree on who will get to use it at different times during the year.
This allows both of you to get what you want, which is keeping the home, although you will be restricted in when you can use it.
As with renting it out, this option is probably not the best for couples who want to completely walk away from each other after the divorce.
It is easy to imagine arguments arising over things such as one spouse not maintaining it properly or interrupting the other’s time at the home.
Make the right decision for you
As with all aspects of property division in a divorce, it is important to keep emotion out of these types of decisions.
You might have many happy memories of time spent at your vacation home, and not want to give it up, but taking on an additional home can be a financial burden you do not want or need. It is best to talk with a divorce attorney about what option fits your situation.