Real estate purchases can be a significant investment for couples. If you and your spouse invested in real estate during your marriage, however, that investment could create unique challenges if you and your spouse go your separate ways. How do Florida courts address real estate during a divorce?
How are real estate holdings divided?
In Florida, a couple’s marital assets include most property acquired during the marriage, even if the title only lists one spouse as its owner. Marital property would, as a result, include any real estate purchased during your marriage or real estate holdings funded or maintained using marital funds.
The courts generally consider some assets to be separate property no matter when your\ acquired it, including gifts or inherited property left only to one person. If you received a piece of real estate as an inheritance, for example, then it will likely be considered separate property unless it became commingled with your marital assets.
Proper valuation is essential.
In a divorce, receiving your fair share often depends on having a complete picture of your finances. When it comes to real estate holdings, this means assessing the property’s current value through a variety of methods.
It is vital to address any appreciation in the value of a particular property. For example, property in an up-and-coming neighborhood may now fetch a higher price than you initially paid or have a greater potential for income as a rental. If you and your spouse took active steps to increase the value of your property—through upgrades, for example—then the court may divide the value of that appreciation even if the property itself is not marital property.
Experienced professionals can protect your financial interests.
As Forbes notes, working with professionals familiar with the real estate market in your area can be crucial to valuation. Not only can appraisers or brokers offer insight into the area’s market, but they can also speak to the specific markets for the type of real estate you own.
Just as brokers and appraisers can help you assess the actual value of the real estate you own, an attorney with experience in complex property division can help you protect your financial interests. With help, you can create a legal strategy that addresses your real estate holdings and establishes the foundation for financial health after your marriage ends.