What About the Home I Owned Prior to Getting Married?

"Is it still mine after we divorce?"

This is a question that is raised often in Florida divorce cases.  Until recently, there was no consensus from the Florida family law cases on what to do with the value of the appreciation in non-marital assets.

The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled, in Kaaa v. Kaaa, on this issue.  In this case, the court held that when a marital home is actually nonmarital real property (one of the parties owned the home prior to getting married), and the mortgage is serviced by marital funds (money that parties earned during the marriage), the value of the passive, market-driven appreciation of the property that accrues during the course of the marriage is a marital asset, subject to equitable distribution.

With the recent downturn in property values, this holding may not have as much importance as it would have during the heyday of the real estate boom.  However, if there is any equity in a marital property that was owned by one party prior to the marriage, it is a good idea to speak with an expert Tampa family law attorney to discuss this recent case, and how it may affect your divorce.