What Happens In A Divorce If I Owned My Apartment Prior To The Marriage?
Marriage often results in significant “upgrades” for the spouses involved – the most obvious of which involves their living situation. Sometimes, these changes are necessary due to growing families. In other situations, these changes may be brought about by personal preferences rather than anything else. In any case, a common situation involves a spouse owning an apartment prior to the marriage. But what happens to this apartment if the spouses one day become divorced? How does this property get divided – or will it be divided at all?
Separate and Marital Property
The first thing you need to consider is whether or not the apartment constitutes separate or marital property. If one spouse owned the apartment before the marriage contract was signed, then it almost always constitutes separate property. The only exception is if the spouse willingly added the other spouse to the title and made it clear that the apartment would be co-owned going forward.
Separate property is never subject to property division in Florida. This means that if you owned an apartment prior to the marriage, that apartment remains 100% yours after the divorce.
What if My Spouse Contributed to the Mortgage Payments on My Apartment?
If your spouse contributed to the mortgage payments while living in the apartment, this may lead to further issues. Once again, this may constitute a “commingled asset,” as your spouse is now mixing their funds with your separate property. It might be a good idea to simply pay for your entire mortgage yourself, as this will make things much easier to figure out during a divorce. However, this might not be possible if you cannot afford the entire mortgage payments on your own.
What if You Sold the Apartment During the Marriage?
With that being said, most spouses that “upgrade” to a more luxurious home end up selling their apartments in order to fund this new expenditure. So what happens to the money from this property sale if it is simply re-injected into the real estate market with another purchase? This could constitute a “commingled asset,” which means that the new home has both marital and separate funds mixed together.
While commingled assets can be “unraveled,” this process may be complex – and it may require the assistance of a forensic accountant. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to keep separate property separate from marital property. But as many spouses cannot afford new homes without first selling their apartments, this is much easier said than done.
Enlist the Help of a Qualified Attorney Today
For help from a skilled Orlando divorce attorney, contact Steve Marsee, P.A. Over the years, we have helped numerous spouses with various aspects of divorce – including the property division process. With our assistance, you can approach this often-complex process in the most efficient, logical manner possible. Book your consultation as soon as possible to get started with an effective action plan right away.