Property division is an important aspect of divorce, and arguably one of the areas parties are most concerned about from the standpoint of advocacy. This is understandable, because ending a marriage can leave parties financially vulnerable, and it is important to ensure one receives a fair property award to help one transition into post-divorce living.
Here in Florida, the approach to property division is characterized by equitable division of marital property, unlike some states which use an equal division approach. In the equitable division approach, judges are given discretion to divide assets according to what they deem to be fair to each party. Various factors are taken into account, such as the duration of the marriage, the economic circumstances of each party and the contributions each party made to acquiring, enhancing, and producing income during the marriage.
When it comes to the family home, child custody determinations can, in some cases, affect property division. One of the factors judges are able to consider in determining who receives the family home is whether it would be in the best interests of the couple’s children to remain in the family home after the divorce. Judge are also supposed to consider whether the couple is able to afford the house payment and whether it is fair the custodial parent to remain in the home. If all these factors line up, though, the party awarded custody may also be awarded the family home.
It isn’t necessarily the case that the custodial parent has a better chance of being awarded the family home, because that award depends on the best interests of the child. When it would be better for the child to live elsewhere, the custodial parent doesn’t have as good of a chance of taking possession of the home following divorce. Of course, in any divorce case, it is important to work with an experienced attorney to help advocate for one’s interests, not only in property division, but also in child custody.