Division of Assets in a Florida Divorce
Like many other states, Florida follows the rule of equitable distribution during a divorce. This differs from community property states in which marital assets are split 50/50. With equitable distribution, assets are divided fairly. Courts will use a number of factors to help decide what is fair for each couple’s particular situation. Every situation is different, and there are no hard and fast rules on how a court may determine what’s equitable or fair.
Especially in cases with a lot of marital assets, you need the help of a Boca Raton divorce attorney who can help protect your rights and negotiate on your behalf. Many divorces resolve on their own with a property settlement agreement, but you need to know what you are agreeing to and giving up. In addition, it’s important to understand what marital property is and what is separate property.
Factors a Florida Family Law Court Judge Looks at
Some of the considerations that a judge might look at when deciding how to divide marital assets in a Florida divorce include:
- How long the marriage lasted;
- What is the financial position of each spouse;
- What is each spouse’s future earning capacity;
- How did each spouse contribute to the marriage, which includes whether one spouse was a stay-at-home parent and helped maintain the home and educate and care for the children;
- How spouses supported each other in their professional, educational, and personal goals;
- Did one spouse make a significant sacrifice for the other, like putting a successful career on hold or delaying educational opportunities;
- What were each spouse’s personal contributions to the marital income or improvement of assets, regardless of whether it was marital or non-marital property;
- Did one spouse act intentionally or in a reckless manner to deplete or waste marital assets once the petition for divorce was filed (courts may look back at a year or two before the divorce because one spouse may have anticipated filing);
- Importance for one spouse to retain possession of the marital home and whether that would be beneficial for dependents; and
- Any other factors the court deems important to help achieve an equitable resolution.
Types of Marital Assets
There are a number of different assets that can qualify as marital property in Florida. Most people think of common items like the marital home, a vacation home, cars, boats, recreational vehicles, etc. But there are other assets that could be subject to division as well. These include jewelry, investment accounts, and business equipment.
In addition, retirement accounts may be subject to division, including profit-sharing plans, insurance plans, and deferred compensation plans. If they are marital property, a spouse has the rights to all funds and interests, vested and non-vested.
Retaining a Florida Family Law Attorney
Because the division of assets can be complex in a Florida divorce, especially for couples who have a lot of investments or own a business together, it’s important to speak with a Florida family law attorney. Some cases may require retaining a financial expert or forensic accountant who can help place a value on some marital assets.
If you have questions on the division of assets process or need representation in your pending divorce, contact the Law Offices of Schwartz | White today at 561-391-9943 to schedule a consultation.