My husband and I sold our home nearly two years ago and moved into a
condominium that we own jointly. He has now left me, and he wants a
divorce. I will be living in the condo until it's sold and we divide
the proceeds. Will we be able to exclude capital gains on the sale of
this property as our principal residence because we had just sold our
Answer: While individuals are allowed to exclude the capital gains generated from the sale of personal residences an unlimited number of times (up to $250,000 of gain each per sale for individuals), there must be at least two years between the sales.
If fewer than two years have passed between sales, you might be able to prorate the exclusion depending on the facts.
Because many homes are sold as a result of divorce, the law recognizes the special problems associated with divorcing couples.
In order to allow the "departed" spouse to either attain or retain the required two-year occupancy needed to qualify his or her ownership interest for the full capital-gains exclusion, the law allows the departed spouse to count the time the other spouse occupies the residence just as if the departed spouse was still living in the home.
However, it is important to remember that this "tacking" can take place only if the remaining spouse is authorized to continue occupancy pursuant to court order or marital agreement. And if one spouse purchases the interest of the other incident to a divorce, the purchasing spouse will be allowed to take advantage of the selling spouse's period of ownership. Here, we suggest that your property not be sold until at least two years have passed from your prior sale, but be sure to check with your tax adviser.
From the Orlando Sentinel.