Florida practices “equitable distribution” concerning the division of assets in a divorce. This may be a complicated process, however, particularly in high net worth cases and those involving a great deal of property and assets. In terms of the financial aspects of your divorce, the division of assets is often the most important factor to address. “Equitable” distribution does not necessarily mean “equal” distribution, and as such it is particularly important that you understand exactly what assets and property may be classified as marital or non-marital and therefore subject to division.
A South Florida divorce attorney at Orner Law, LLC can meet with you to discuss the circumstances of your divorce as well as what to expect concerning property division. If you are interested in learning more about the division of assets and debts in your divorce, we can answer your questions and give you the honest, straightforward advice you need. Best of all, call today and schedule your initial consultation with a lawyer at Orner Law, LLC. We represent clients throughout South Florida.
ABOUT EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION IN FLORIDA DIVORCES
There are two main factors to address in the division of assets and property in a Florida divorce:
Completely accounting for any and all assets, property and liabilities that each spouse currently holds.
Evaluating these assets or liabilities to determine whether they should be included or excluded from the marital estate (classified as marital or non-marital property, and therefore subject to or safe from distribution.)
The most basic form of marital property is an asset acquired jointly by the spouses during the marriage. This may include real estate, personal property such as jewelry or automobiles, as well as bank accounts, stocks and bonds or other investments and any balances or interests in retirement, profit-sharing or similar plans.
The court will first determine what property is non-marital. Typically, this is property a spouse acquired prior to the marriage. For example, a bank account owned by one spouse prior to the marriage and maintained by only that spouse, and not used for purposes related to the marriage or for the benefit of the other spouse, would likely be considered non-marital.
Non-marital property can become marital property. One example is a case in which the husband or wife owned a home prior to the marriage and subsequently places his or her spouse on the title to that home. Even if an asset remains non-marital property, any identifiable increase in the value of that assets contributed by the non-owner spouse may also be subject to equitable distribution. Gifts by one spouse to the other during the marriage generally are also considered marital property.
Once the marital “estate” – that is, all of the marital assets – are identified and valued, the court will decide on an appropriate distribution. In doing so, Florida law requires consideration of various factors. These can include:
- What contribution each spouse has made to the marriage, including care and education of the children and services as homemaker.
- The economic situation of each spouse.
- How long the parties have been married.
- Whether either spouse interrupted or gave up a personal career or educational opportunity, whether to raise children, to allow the other spouse to pursue his or her own career, or for other reasons.
Having a skilled lawyer at your side during the equitabel distribution process can help ensure that your interests are well-protected. An attorney will understand all factors that are taken into account when classifying property as a marital or non-marital asset and can help ensure that your personal property is protected to the full extent of the law.
With offices in Boca Raton and Fort Lauderdale, Orner Law, LLC serves clients throughout South Florida.
Contact a South Florida equitable distribution lawyer at Orner Law, LLC today to learn more about property division and divorce in Florida.