How Property Division Works in Divorce
When you have built a life and marriage together, there is an accumulation of property that will need to be divided up with the dissolution of the relationship. In Florida, divorce law states that all assets and liabilities are distributed between the parties based on “equitable distribution”. This means that marital property is divided equitably or fairly, not necessarily equally.
Marital and non-marital property will be considered when deciding upon distribution:
Nonmarital property is assets obtained before marriage such as an inheritance, gifts from people other than your spouse, and any property/debt. Assets and property acquired before a marriage is not usually contested in a divorce. When it is, the party claiming non-marital property must provide proof that all assets are non-marital
Marital property is assets or liabilities obtained during the marriage such as cars, houses, retirement benefits (pensions and 401k plans), business interests, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, personal property, mortgage debts, student loans, credit cards, and the enhanced value of a nonmarital asset.
How Property Division is Divided
Generally, assets or liabilities that are non-marital are not subject to equitable distribution. It is the marital property that the two parties, or courts, will divide out with fair distribution. If the parties are unable to agree on a division of the assets and debts, the court will determine the equitable distribution based on various factors including:
- The financial contribution of each spouse to the marriage
- The duration of the marriage
- The economic circumstances of each spouse
- The debt accumulation by each respective spouse
- The best interest of children regarding living in the marital home
The Factors in Florida Statute Section 61.075 will be considered by the court if the parties cannot agree on division. Collaborative divorce can be a helpful tool for dividing property with equitable distribution and a sense of fairness to all sides involved.