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Fighting Over the House in Divorce: What You Need To Know


But I Can Afford The Mortgage Payments After The Divorce Is Over!

As a divorce attorney, I see it all the time – couples who fight over the house in the divorce proceedings in Orlando, FL. However, what many fail to realize is that, in most cases, they either can’t afford to keep the house or it simply isn’t in their best interest. Let’s delve into the three most common issues I encounter as a divorce lawyer in Orlando when it comes to dividing the marital home.

First and foremost, the financial aspect is often overlooked. Even if one party makes enough money to cover the mortgage payment, there are several other factors to consider. For instance, the other spouse is entitled to 50% of the equity in the home. This means that if you bought the house several years ago and have built up significant equity, your spouse would be entitled to be bought out or receive 50% of the equity’s value. Unfortunately, many individuals don’t have that kind of money readily available in a savings account or elsewhere, which often necessitates a cash-out refinance. While this might enable you to pay off your spouse and keep the house, it also means a higher mortgage payment, especially in the current high-interest-rate environment.

Moreover, it’s essential to recognize that fighting for the house is often unrealistic for both parties. Many divorce attorneys fail to have an honest conversation with their clients early on, leading to unnecessary litigation and emotional strain. It’s crucial to understand the financial implications and have a realistic outlook before committing to keeping the house.

Court Requirements for Keeping the House

Assuming you decide to proceed with keeping the house, there are certain requirements that the court will impose on you. One of the most critical factors is the mortgage. If both spouses’ names are on the mortgage, the party keeping the house must refinance it to remove the other party’s name. Unfortunately, this can pose a significant challenge for many individuals going through a divorce. Often, credit scores have been impacted, savings depleted, and other circumstances have arisen that hinder the ability to qualify for refinancing within a short period.

Additionally, if a cash-out refinance is necessary to buy out the other spouse’s equity share, the financial burden becomes even greater. While strategies such as pursuing spousal support or negotiating lump sum alimony can help increase income and facilitate refinancing, it’s crucial to assess the feasibility of these options carefully. In some cases, engaging in prolonged litigation and expending vast resources may not be worth the effort and may only lead to further frustration and financial strain.

Dealing with Toxic Behavior

Unfortunately, divorce can bring out the worst in some individuals, leading to potentially destructive behavior. One common scenario is when a toxic spouse decides to stop paying the mortgage and other bills associated with the house. This is particularly prevalent when the other party requests spousal support, temporary support, or attorney fees. While the court can intervene and expedite decisions to ensure bill payments, the situation becomes far more perilous when divorce proceedings have not yet begun. If one spouse neglects their financial responsibilities, it can quickly lead to foreclosure proceedings initiated by the bank.

To avoid such a worst-case scenario, it’s crucial to be vigilant and act promptly. If you suspect that your spouse may engage in destructive behavior, consult with an attorney as soon as possible to protect your interests. Remember, banks are unforgiving when it comes to missed mortgage payments, and allowing the situation to escalate can result in significant financial liabilities and the loss of a valuable asset.

Another form of destructive behavior involves taking out a home equity line of credit or a second mortgage on the house without the other spouse’s knowledge. These funds may be squandered on extravagant purchases or hidden assets, depleting the equity that would have been divided during the divorce. To prevent such situations, it’s crucial to maintain open communication and exercise caution when it comes to financial decisions leading up to the divorce.

It’s important to note that these examples represent just a fraction of the complexities involved in dividing the marital home during a divorce. Every case is unique, and consulting with a qualified attorney is crucial to navigating the intricacies of your specific situation. Remember, the information provided in this blog does not constitute legal advice, and it’s always best to consult with an attorney to receive personalized guidance.


Dividing the house in a divorce can be a contentious and complex process. However, it’s essential to approach it with a clear understanding of the financial implications and the requirements imposed by the court. Many individuals find themselves unable to afford the house or unwilling to meet the necessary obligations, leading to unnecessary conflict and emotional strain.

If you’re currently going through a divorce and find yourself grappling with the decision to keep the house, I encourage you to seek professional guidance. At our law office, we specialize in divorce and family law matters in Central Florida and can provide you with the support, knowledge, and expertise needed to make informed decisions. Contact our office today to discuss your particular situation and find the best path forward.

God bless you, and I wish you all the best.

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