If you and your spouse live in an apartment in Florida, who gets to keep the apartment becomes a crucial point in the divorce process. This is especially true in areas where it’s hard to find new apartments and where the property values have been constantly going up. To determine what rights you may have to it, ask yourself these four questions:
1. Did you live in the apartment prior to the marriage? If you lived there alone, it may not count as marital property and you may be able to claim that you alone should get it, as it’s yours and does not belong to your spouse. You just let him or her live there.
2. Are you named specifically on the lease? If not, it’s going to be very hard to claim any portion of the apartment. This is especially true if, as noted above, your spouse was renting it out alone before you got married and you just moved in.
3. Do you actively live in the apartment? If it’s your primary residence, the answer is yes, and this question may seem rather pointless. However, this is very important when looking at a second residence—like an apartment you have in Florida to vacation to in the winter months.
4. Do you pay the rent? If you pay all of the rent or even just 50 percent of it, it strengths your claim that you own it. This can get complicated if you have a joint bank account, though, meaning you don’t specify whose money is being used for purchases.
When things get complicated, it pays to know all of your legal rights.
Source: New York Times, “Talking; Who Gets Apartment in Divorce?,” Diane Henry, accessed March 31, 2016