5 Things to Know About Florida Property Division in a Divorce
When you are getting divorced in Orlando, you need to understand how Florida law approaches the distribution of marital property. The following are five things to know about Florida property division in an Orlando divorce.
- Florida is an Equitable Distribution State
Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that a Florida court dividing marital property will divide the property in a way that it considers to be fair or equitable to both of the parties in the case. According to Florida law, courts “must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors.” Those relevant factors, according to the statute, can include any of the following:
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage;
- Parties’ economic circumstances;
- Duration of the marriage;
- Personal career or educational interruption for either spouse;
- Either spouse’s contribution to the other spouse’s career or education;
- Either spouse’s particular desire to retain a certain asset;
- Contribution of each spouse to the assets and debts of the marriage;
- Either spouse’s intentional dissipation, waster, depletion, or destruction of marital property; and
- Any other facts that would be required for the court to “to do equity and justice between the parties.”
- Both Assets and Debts Are Divisible in a Divorce
Marital property includes both assets and debts or liabilities from the marriage. Accordingly, when the court talks about the equitable distribution of marital property, it is referring to assets and debts alike.
- Commingled Assets Can Make Property Division More Complicated
Before a Florida court will look at factors for dividing marital property, it will first need to classify property as either marital or non-marital (separate) property. Only marital property can be distributed in the divorce case. In general, property excluded through a premarital agreement, property acquired by either spouse before the marriage, property acquired during the marriage with separate assets, and property acquired during the marriage through a third-party gift or inheritance will be considered separate property.
However, sometimes separate and marital property become commingled, or mixed. In these situations, the court will usually try to determine what portion of the property is eligible for division, but it can get complicated.
- Complex Property Can Require Appraisals from Experts
Some complex property, such as certain investments or high-value art, can require the parties to seek an appraisal (or two) from an expert in the field.
- Spouses Can Reach an Agreement About Property Division in a Settlement
If you can reach an agreement with your spouse about how to divide marital property, then you can enter into a property settlement agreement, and the court will not decide how your assets and debts will be distributed.
Contact an Orlando Divorce Attorney
If you are considering divorce in Orlando, it is important to understand how property division will likely work in your divorce. Whether you are working toward a property settlement with your spouse, or your case will require the court to determine what an equitable distribution of your property looks like, you should have an experienced Orlando divorce attorney on your side throughout the case. Contact Anderson & Ferrin to learn more about how we can assist you with your divorce.