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Oh the injustice of it all. Dear Ruth is one smart cookie.
Taking advantage of the Florida homestead exemption, she filed with the state to shield her home from creditors. All this was done before her husbands arrest. Was this part of a plan? Maybe. Her husband has said he worked alone.
Here is some background on Florida's homestead exemption which came about at the beginning of Florida's statehood. It was designed as an aid to get people to move into the state, families, and not lose their home to say , a gambling debt.
"Section 4 lays out Florida's homestead exemption provision, considered one of the most protective in the nation for resident property owners. The provision exempts from forced sale (except to pay taxes, mortgages, or mechanic's lien) 160 acres of contiguous land plus all improvements (if located outside a municipality) or 1/2 acre of contiguous land plus all improvements (if located inside a municipality), regardless of the property's value, plus personal property up to US$1,000. Upon the owner's death, the exemptions extend to the surviving spouse or to the heirs.
As much as it hurts to say, she will most likely get away with it. The law is meant to protect the average person and it does stick in the craw when a person of her stature and notoriety uses the law to her advantage. But remember, the law works to your advantage too.