Boca Raton Property Division Lawyer
Florida Equitable Distribution
Deciding how to divide marital assets can be one of the most complicated aspects of a divorce. Florida courts are tasked with making an equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities between the divorcing spouses. Dividing assets equally may seem like the easiest approach, but a 50/50 split is not always equitable, and it’s not even possible in many situations.
The skilled and knowledgeable Boca Raton property division lawyers at Wise Lieberman, PLLC provide able and effective representation in the property division in your divorce. Whether negotiating a property settlement agreement in your attorney’s Boca Raton office or litigating a property dispute in the South County Courthouse in Delray Beach, our Florida divorce lawyers will work to ensure that all marital assets and debts are properly identified, accurately valued, and distributed in a fair and equitable manner that meets your needs and goals.
See answers to your property settlement questions below, and call Wise Lieberman, PLLC in Boca Raton for strategic advice and effective representation regarding the division of marital property in your Florida divorce.
What are Marital and Non-Marital Assets and Debts?
Before any property can be distributed, it must first be characterized as marital or non-marital and given an accurate value. Marital assets are those which were acquired during the marriage; it doesn’t matter whether they were acquired by the spouses together or by one spouse alone. One spouse’s income, therefore, is a marital asset since the money was earned during the marriage. Some assets acquired during marriage are considered separate if they were acquired by one spouse through a gift or inheritance. Assets acquired before marriage or after the date of separation are non-marital assets.
It is important to know that assets which were originally non-marital can be considered marital assets if they were treated so by the spouses. For instance, if one spouse inherited a piece of property and then put it in joint title with the other spouse, this otherwise non-marital asset is now marital. It is equally important to know that the court divides both assets and debts. The same rules apply to whether a debt is considered marital (a shared responsibility to be divided in the divorce) or non-marital (solely the responsibility of the spouse who holds the debt).
How are Martial Assets Divided?
Florida courts are charged with making an “equitable distribution” of marital assets. The court starts with the presumption that a 50/50 split is appropriate, but this is not always possible, and it is not always equitable (fair). If the spouses can reach an agreement between them, this settlement will be reviewed and approved by the court if the judge deems it is in fact an equitable distribution. If the parties cannot agree, then the matter will have to be litigated in court, with the judge deciding how to fairly distribute the marital property.
When deciding whether a division of property is equitable, the court will consider the following factors:
- How long the marriage lasted
- The economic circumstances of each spouse separately
- The contributions each made to the marriage, whether as a wage-earner, caregiver or homemaker
- How much one spouse helped the other further his or her education or career
- Whether one of the spouse’s put his or her own career on hold for the sake of the marriage
- How much each spouse contributed to the couple’s accumulation of both assets and liabilities
- Whether one of the spouses intentionally wasted any marital assets within the two years previous to filing for divorce, or after the petition to divorce was filed
- Whether it is preferable to award certain assets solely to one spouse, such as the marital home to the children’s caregiver or a business or professional practice to the business operator
Skilled and Knowledgeable Help with the Property Settlement in Your Boca Divorce
The Boca Raton property division lawyers at Wise Lieberman, PLLC are knowledgeable in identifying and locating marital property and making sure complex assets are accurately valued, including business valuations, retirement plans and investment accounts. For help with the property settlement in your Florida divorce, contact Wise Lieberman, PLLC in Boca Raton at 561-488-7788.