Florida real estate has gotten notoriously expensive in the past decade as the economy has experienced a strong period of growth. While this is generally good for all, it presents a problem for a spouse in a divorce who needs to buy out the other spouse’s share. Now that the economy has fallen off the cliff, it presents an opportunity for a spouse who wants to remain in the marital home.

When one party wins the right to keep the house, it does not come without a cost. They must pay the other spouse an amount of money that is based on both their equity in the home and the fair market value. This is often challenging for the spouse to afford. Now that home prices are falling, the cost to the spouse should be less. They can also refinance their mortgage to take advantage of interest rates that have reached historic lows.

Keeping the family home is not just a matter of living arrangements, but it can also be an investment in the real estate market. Home prices generally tend to increase over time, and the home can be an important part of a portfolio. Nonetheless, people should make sure that they are not putting all of their money into the home so they do not become “house poor”.

Sometimes, who gets to retain the home is a matter of dispute in a divorce as both want to stay. A family law attorney could help resolve the issue if there is a dispute. If the two parties cannot reach an agreement, the attorney may represent a client in court as the judge decides who gets the house and what the accompanying financial arrangements are.