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Separating Your Physical Assets in a FL Divorce
In Florida, marital property and other physical assets fall under equitable distribution. While some states rely on community property, Florida uses equitable or fair distribution. But, just because the state offers “fair” does not necessarily mean that physical assets are split 50/50.
If you are filing for divorce in Florida, it is best to consult an attorney regarding your assets and how they will be distributed during the divorce.
Separate Property Does Not Qualify
Before property can be divided in a divorce case, couples must first determine what property is “separate” and what “marital” property is. Separate property is physical property not subject to equitable distribution. This property was acquired by a spouse before the marriage or via inheritance or under special circumstances, during the marriage. Separate property can include multiple assets, such as:
Income from rental properties acquired pre-marriage
Inherited items (whether money or property) acquired before the marriage
Determining Marital Property
Unless there is a prenuptial agreement stating otherwise or other circumstances , physical property – including debts and assets – normally acquired during the marriage is considered “marital property.” These items can include:
Credit card accounts
Even if only one spouse’s name is on the property or account and it was acquired after marriage, it maybe be considered marital property.
How the Courts Divide Property
While equitable division starts with the 50/50 distribution of marital assets and liabilities. the court will seek the fairest division possible, however, that does not always mean each of your physical assets will be divided 50/50. Couples are encouraged to work together and come to a settlement independently, because if it is up to the judge, they may distribute assets based on circumstances you may not feel are relevant. Some factors the judge will consider include:
How long you were married
Your financial/economical circumstance
Which spouse will have the children primarily and if it benefits them to live in the marital home
Each spouse’s independent contribution to the marital assets – and whether or not one was a homemaker while the other was the income-earner
Whether a spouse interrupted their own career or education to contribute elsewhere in the marriage
Debts and liabilities owned by each spouse
If a spouse intentionally wasted or destroyed marital assets within two years up to the divorce petition
In some cases, the judge may require couples to sell an asset and split the profits. For example, you cannot agree on the family home; therefore, the judge may require that you sell the home and then split any profits associated with that sale. If there are minor children living in the home, the best interests of the children in regard to the home will be taken into consideration.
Need Assistance with Your Property Division? Contact a Florida Divorce Attorney
Understanding how equitable distribution works is not easy – and negotiating with a spouse when emotions are high make it hard to come to a reasonable agreement. Hiring a divorce attorney that understands the property division laws in Florida is key. The attorneys at McMichen, Cinami & Demps can assist you with your divorce case. We understand emotions are high, and we are here to help you and your spouse come to a collaborative arrangement. Call us for a consultation at 407-898-2161 or fill out an online contact form today.