Your Home’s Value and Divorce

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Equitable Distribution on Tuesday, July 31, 2012.

Your house is usually one of the largest assets to divide in a divorce. That being said, there is good news and bad news about the value of one of your biggest assets.

First, USA Today reports some good news:

Data through May 2012, released today by S&P Dow Jones Indices for its S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Indices, the leading measure of U.S. home prices, showed that average home prices increased by 2.2% in May over April for both the 10- and 20-City Composites.

This increase was better than the consensus forecast, and hopefully prices will turn positive year-over-year in June. Tampa and Miami are each up about 3% in the last year.

The bad news is that housing prices have dropped about 35% from their peak, and forecasts say housing prices will be close to flat this year and next, with mid-single-digit nationwide gains emerging by mid-decade.

In 2008, the Florida Constitution was amended to allow homeowners to keep a portion of their tax assessment differential after their home is sold. Because many homes in Florida are in negative equity, clients often overlook the hidden tax advantages their homestead can provide during and after a divorce.

I wrote an article in the Florida Bar Journal examining the equitable distribution of the tax assessment differential in divorce, and how the Constitutional Amendment impacts non-married couples selling their homestead after a breakup. I have lectured, and continue to receive calls about the impact of this constitutional change from clients and attorneys alike. Hopefully the article will give something to think about.