How To Divide Rental Property During Divorce
It is not uncommon for couples to have rental property that provides a stable source of income while they are married. In the event of divorce though, there are many different issues that come up surrounding rental properties and they all have the potential to become very complex. An Orlando divorce lawyer can advise on the ways to divide rental property during divorce, and help ensure you receive the fair settlement you deserve.
Florida is governed by equitable distribution laws. This means that while property is divided fairly during a divorce, this does not necessarily mean it is divided equally. Spouses can negotiate an agreement on their own about how to divide the rental property but if they cannot reach an agreement, a Judge will decide for them. Also, before an agreement becomes legally binding, a Judge must approve it and they will only do so if the agreement is fair to both parties.
Non-Marital vs. Marital Property
Only marital property is divided in divorce so before any property division begins, it must be determined if the rental property is non-marital or marital property. Non-marital property includes assets one person owned before the marriage, while marital assets are those the couple acquired together. Determining whether rental property is considered non-marital or marital property is not always easy. For example, one spouse may have owned the property prior to the marriage, which would make it non-marital property. However, if marital funds were used to make repairs to the property or pay the mortgage, there could be an argument that the property, or a portion thereof, is now marital.
Decisions Surrounding Rental Property in Divorce
You will have to make many decisions during the divorce process, particularly if you have rental property. You and your spouse will have to determine if you want to keep the property and if so, what you will use it for.
One spouse may decide to move into the property after the divorce, which may no longer make it rental property. One spouse may also decide to keep the property, which will mean additional expenses, such as maintenance, but also the rental income. Or, the spouses may decide to sell the property and divide the proceeds. These decisions are big ones and it is important to give them proper consideration, as it could affect you for years to come.
Complex Issues in Rental Property Division
Property division always has the potential to become complex, and that holds true with rental property, as well. Some of the issues the Florida courts have wrestled with include:
- Failing to factor in costs of operating rental property
- Accurately predicting future rental levels in local markets to attribute to the income of the future owner
- Determining the impact of a rental agreement in which the owners charged rent below market value
Our Divorce Lawyers in Orlando Can Help with Your Complex Issues
Dividing rental property in divorce is complex, but there are other issues you will face, as well. At O’Mara Law Group, our Orlando family lawyers can help you sort through them and secure the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.