During a divorce, one of the most crucial steps is dividing property. The couple involved must take stock of what they have so they can proceed with the division of property. In Florida, property division is separated into two categories – marital and non-marital assets and liabilities. Items considered marital assets are subject to equitable distribution to determine a fair and impartial division of assets to both parties. LaFrance Law can provide you with guidance and advice necessary for a smooth division of property.
Marital v. Non-Marital Assets
One of the first steps in property division is determining what is and is not marital property. Marital property generally includes any assets and liabilities obtained during the marriage, regardless of title. Marital assets can include: cars, houses, retirement benefits, bank accounts and personal property. If the value of a non-marital asset has increased due to efforts made by you or your spouse during the marriage, the enhanced value can also be considered a marital asset. Liabilities or debts accrued during the marriage are also divided. These debts can include: mortgages, loans and credit cards.
Did You Know?
What Happens to Pets After Divorce?
They are treated as assets. So if you spend a lot of money on your designer dog you should probably keep a record of that to ensure you get a fair share of dog.
Assets and liabilities that are acquired before the marriage or through inheritance are usually considered non-marital property and are awarded to only one person. Non-marital property can also include any gifts received from someone other than your spouse.
Once an inventory of marital assets is completed, Florida law encourages an equitable distribution of the assets and liabilities. The goal is to provide a fair and impartial distribution to both sides, not necessarily a 50/50 split. All of the following will be taken into consideration, however this is not an extensive list.
Real Property – marital home, vacation homes, business properties, rental properties and undeveloped land
Personal Property – home furniture, motor vehicles, boats, clothing, jewelry, computers, guns, dinnerware, artwork, and antiques
Financial Assets – cash on hand, checking and saving accounts, 401(k) plans, pensions, profit sharing, stocks, and certificates
Business Assets – partnerships, sole proprietorship and other business interests
Debt – credit card, mortgages, car loans, taxes, student loans, and unpaid tickets
Other Property – reward program points, club memberships, gifts, prize winnings, and pets
Unequal Distribution of Assets & Liabilities
If you and your spouse cannot agree on the best way to divide marital assets, the courts will determine the equitable distribution based on various factors outlined in Florida Statute Section 61.075. These factors include:
- The contribution to the marriage including the care and education of the children and services as a homemaker
- Economic circumstances of both parties
- Duration of the marriage
- Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities
- The contribution of one spouse to the other spouse’s personal career or education
- The desirability of keeping any assets, including a business, corporation or professional practice that is free from claim or interference by the other spouse
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the non-marital assets of the parties
- Desirability of keeping the marital home as a residence for any dependent child or other party when it would be equitable to do so. In making this determination, the court will first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child or party to remain in the marital home; and, if not, if other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home.
- The intentional destruction of marital assets after filing the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition