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Florida Property Division

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In a Florida divorce, marital property is divided equitably.  While that sounds pretty straightforward, there is actually a lot of nuance here that makes splitting assets trickier than you might expect. Having a knowledgeable local divorce attorney by your side will make things much easier.

What Does Equitable Distribution mean? 

Marital property must be distributed equitably as per statute 61.075.  Basically, it means that assets and debts are equally split, unless circumstances justify otherwise.  The court must consider a number of factors in determining equitable distribution, including:

  • Contributions each spouse made to the marriage, both economically and otherwise;
  • The length of the marriage;
  • The economic position of each spouse;
  • Assistance and support one spouse provided the other in gaining education or employment;
  • The interests of children and feasibility of relocating.

What Constitutes Marital Property? 

Anything obtained during the course of the marriage is considered marital property here in the Sunshine State.  Even gifts between spouses fall under the rules of equitable distribution.  That means if your spouse gave you a $10,000 painting for your birthday, the value must be equitably distributed in a divorce.  Likewise, if you bought yourself a vintage car to celebrate your 50th and only your name is on the title, your spouse is still entitled to a portion of its value in a divorce.

What if you owned the family home prior to marriage?  It doesn’t constitute marital property, but any improvements that increased its value means both partners have a stake in the value gains.  The same is true for a business.  If you owned a business prior to marriage, and your spouse later worked for that business, you both clearly contributed to the success of the business.  Therefore, both are entitled to any gain in value in that business.

What about retirement accounts?  Let’s say you had a 401k through your employer prior to marrying and kept it through the course of the marriage.  The money in the account before you tied the knot is your own; the rest is part of an equitable distribution. The same goes to any insurances, pensions, annuities, profit-sharing, annuities, and deferred compensation plans.

What is Non-marital Property 

Items acquired prior to marriage belong to whichever party owned it to begin with in a divorce.  If you had a car before marriage, it is yours after a divorce.  Even if you traded in that vehicle for a new one, the new one is yours.

Gifts from others, including inheritances, stay with the party to whom they were given.  So if you inherited $100,000 when your uncle passed, that money is exclusively yours.

Rules Within Rules 

There are a number of caveats to most directives in a divorce, which is why you want an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney at your side.  At WiseLieberman, you’ll get nothing less.  Contact us for a confidential consultation today.

Resource:

flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2018/61.076

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