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Can my spouse sell the house without my consent in Florida?

October 20, 2023

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In a marriage, two people can support each other through multiple challenges and responsibilities, but good communication is key. Both partners need to be on the same page about their plans for the future, or marital disagreements can quickly bleed into their finances.

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Can My Spouse Sell the House Without My Permission?

Under Florida's Constitution, a married person needs the consent of their spouse before selling a home in Florida. This regulation also applies to mortgages, wills, and trusts.

With that said, the final answer is not always cut and dry.

In some cases, the conditions in a mortgage/prenuptial agreement can give spouses some wiggle room to make a decision on their own. If both spouses are listed on the mortgage agreement, they need to talk things over if one of them wishes to sell. However, this doesn't mean that your spouse can sell without telling you if your name isn't on the mortgage.

A couple's homestead right also allows the sale of a house for a spouse that is not listed as an owner in the property title. This right can only be enforced under special circumstances like the death of the other spouse, or child support purposes.

Navigating Different Real Estate Transactions

The terms of the mortgage agreement can determine many of your real estate plans going forward, but some rules stay consistent for all married couples.

For instance, people can sell or buy a real estate property without the spouse's involvement as long as it's not their homestead property.

Both partners need a joinder if they want the mortgage loan to buy a new homestead property. If you're legally married, maybe in the middle of a dissolution, and want to buy a homestead on your own, you need to pay in cash.

Lastly, a married person can't sell or refinance their homestead property without the spouse's consent.

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Who Owns a Homestead Property?

Unlike other states in the U.S., Florida is not a community property state. Community property means that both spouses share ownership over the assets acquired after the marriage, which are considered marital property. Real estate purchases are included under community property law, so people can't get away with selling a house without telling their spouse first.

While married couples in Florida can share debts and assets, separate property is still the ruling factor when it comes to distribution.

Separate property refers to the assets that each partner acquired before the marriage. So, if one partner owned the family home before the marriage, it would still count as separate property, though the shared financial investment made to the mortgage would eventually turn a home into marital property. This is one of the reasons why one spouse can't sell the house on their own even when it's only their name on the mortgage.

Even without community property laws, real estate properties that were purchased during the marriage automatically count as marital properties in Florida. This includes cases where one spouse is listed as owner on the property title.

At some point, couples could also update the title into a joint deed, in which case, both of their signatures are needed for a sale to pull through.

Potential Legal Disputes

The bottom line is still the same: a person can't get away with selling a house without the spouse's consent. Even if some factors involving the initial purchase can muddy the waters, the other spouse could still file a lawsuit after seeking a lawyer's consultation.

A real estate attorney can help couples reach a favorable arrangement before things escalate into a drawn-out legal battle. The lawyer can look into the title, mortgage conditions, and other property documents after the initial purchase to outline the rights of each spouse.

If the dispute leads to separation and property distribution, real estate lawyers can also look into additional factors like the couple's years of marriage, the number of children, each partner's financial contributions, and pending debts.

Key Title & Escrow helps you navigate your real estate transactions so you understand all the rights and limitations attached to a joint mortgage. Likewise, we protect your best interests if you come to us as the non-owner in the sale of your homestead property. Our understanding of Florida real estate laws helps us get to the bottom of a discussion before it turns into a legal dispute, so you can have peace of mind and avoid financial loss.

Get the best counsel to protect your home from the worst parts of a marital dispute. Key Title & Escrow can give you the legal advice you need according to the type of ownership you have for your house. And if you're about to start your married life in a new home, we can also provide the best title and escrow service to protect your best interest. You can always call (305) 235-4571 or toll-free at (800) 547-0006 to learn more about our services. Our specialists can also answer your questions if you reach out to us via the contact form on this page.

Protect your future and let Key Title & Escrow with the most reliable real estate services in Florida.
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