Property Settlement & Ownership in Florida

by B. from Arizona

Me and my wife were divorced in Arizona. I live in Arizona and she lives in Florida. She had petitioned to the Arizona court that there be no property settlement because Arizona did not have jurisdiction over her.

The court granted the divorce with no property settlement.

Her credit is bad and I obtained a mortgage on her house in Florida prior to the divorce. She had to sign to guarantee the mortgage but her name is not first.

What course is open for me to get a property settlement? What happens if I say I do not agree or want any property settlement?

Answer to Florida Divorce Question

Dear B,

From what I gather from your question, you and your former wife own a house together.

It generally doesn't matter as far as ownership whose name appears first on a mortgage.

And, in general, in Florida married couples hold ownership of their home as "tenants by entirety".

This is a type of type of concurrent estate in real property held by a Husband and Wife whereby each owns the undivided whole of the property, coupled with the Right of Survivorship, so that upon the death of one, the survivor is entitled to the decedent's share.

A Tenancy by the Entirety allows spouses to own property together as a single legal entity. Under a tenancy by the entirety, creditors of an individual spouse may not attach and sell the interest of a debtor spouse: only creditors of the couple may attach and sell the interest in the property owned by tenancy by the entirety.

Once divorced, there is no more tenancy by the entireties because that form of ownership is reserved specifically for married couples. The ownership may become either a joint tenancy which is very similar to tenancy by the entireties, but the parties are not married; or the ownership may become tenancy in common.

When couples divorce there is usually some sort of disposition of joint property, although this did not happen in your case. You can make an agreement with her as to how to divide the property. One of you can buy out the other, or one of you can quit claim the property to the other, with no money involved.

In Florida there are two documents that are connected to real estate. The mortgage note represents the loan; and the deed represents the property ownership. If you do not agree to a property settlement then you will continue to own a house with your former wife.

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