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How Florida courts handle investment real estate in divorces

There is a popular saying that more money means you have more problems. That is often the case in Florida divorces, particularly when you and your spouse share complex assets. Complex assets may not have a clear price, although they may obviously hold significant value.

They may also have more complicated forms of ownership that make it difficult to divide them evenly in the event of a divorce. Investment real estate is a perfect example of complex assets. The courts may handle investment properties somewhat differently than they do your primary home.

If you and your spouse purchased real property to hold as an investment or fixed up investment homes to sell for a profit, the property you currently hold will likely play a large role in the asset division process of your divorce.

If you acquired it during marriage, you will probably split it

There are many considerations that the court has to review when determining how to split assets. Unless you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement or file an uncontested divorce in which you have already agreed to terms, the family court will need to make decisions on your behalf. When it comes to splitting up valuable assets, the court follows a relatively straightforward process.

They will look at the specifics of the assets and of the marriage. From there, they will determine the best way to split those assets so that the outcome is as equitable and fair as possible for both spouses. The courts have a lot of legal leeway regarding how they choose to dispose of complex assets, such as investment real estate. Each of you could receive properties of similar values.

Alternatively, the courts could order the sale of all investment properties. Other times, one spouse may retain the investment properties and business associated with them, while the other receives other valuable considerations or assets.

Make sure you have reasonable prices placed on any real estate holdings

The first step in liquidating or splitting investment real estate assets is the process of placing a price on those properties. If the purchase was recent and no improvements were made, the sale price might be close enough to accurate for your situation.

In most other cases, whether you have owned the property for several years or have worked to improve it, it will likely be necessary to have an assessor or appraiser look at the individual investment properties you own. These real estate professionals can place a reasonable market value on the property. That figure will guide the courts in their process of determining how to split your assets.

Anyone with complex or significant assets needs to take care to protect their own interests in their divorce. Partnering with an experienced family law attorney who understands complex asset division in Florida is a good first step when facing divorce.

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