The Reasons for Unequal Division

We are often asked if a spouse will be able to get back the money they invested into their home, in addition to half the equity of the home’s value. Unless you can prove that your spouse did not contribute to the household’s earnings or income in any meaningful way, you will not be able to redeem your investment into your home.

Florida’s current statute regarding property division makes the presumption that couples will receive equal portions of all marital property. As recently as 2009, the Florida family code was amended to abolish “special equity,” which made property immune to equal division as long as one spouse could demonstrate that they paid for the property with funds “unconnected with the marital relationship.”

That means even if you bought a home entirely with your salary or earnings,it will be presumed that the house belongs to both you and your spouse,and you will either need to purchase your spouse’s interest in the home or receive a settlement from your spouse to release ownership of the home. Half of the thousands of dollars you poured into paying for your home will, essentially, go to your spouse in the form of the home’s value.

However, there is an exception.

“Special Efforts” & Non-Marital Earnings

Florida law allows spouses to argue for unequal distribution if they made“special efforts” that were separate from normal marital expenses,or that they made payments from a strictly non-marital source. Keep in mind, earnings or benefits that existed prior to your marriage are not considered non-marital. Non-marital sources of income only apply to inheritances,assets from a family trust, or similar sources of protected income.

If you’re hoping to get back the investment you’ve made into your home with your money, speak with our family law attorney today.We may be able to find a way to get you a fair and equitable share of the marriage property.