When a marriage comes to an end, couples will be faced with numerous emotional
and financial decisions including how assets, property, and debt should
be distributed. During a
divorce, the division of assets can often be a central point of contention and
when spouses cannot reach an arrangement (or don’t have a prenuptial
agreement) the dispute must be settled in court.
Florida follows the rules of equitable distribution, meaning that all marital
assets will be divided fairly between spouses. It is important to note
that “fairly” may not necessarily mean “equally”
in all cases. There are numerous factors which a judge may consider when
determining precisely how assets are to be split
Factors which may influence the division of assets in Florida include:
- The total length of a marriage
- The total income of each spouse
- Material contributions of each spouse to a marriage such as income
- Time and energy invested in homemaking or parenting
- Economic or educational sacrifices made by either spouse
- Any intentional waste or destruction of assets prior to filing for divorce
Judges typically understand that not every asset can be easily divided,
for example, the family home. In these cases, the entirety of one asset
may be awarded to a single spouse with the other partner receiving an
equal value of other property. Another route the court may take is to
order the sale of an asset with each spouse splitting the difference.
Marital and Separate Property
Not all property will be included in courtroom proceedings and only marital
assets may be subject to court enforced distribution. Typically, marital
property includes all assets and debts that were acquired by either spouse
during a marriage (that were not gifts or inheritance) including income,
retirement plans, and investments. On the other hand, separate property
is generally any asset that was owned before a marriage or was a gift
or inheritance received at any time.
In some cases, both separate and marital assets can be combined. One example
of this is known as commingling and it occurs when both spouses make contributions
to what would otherwise be separate property. For example, if one spouse
owned a rental property before a relationship but during the marriage,
both spouses pay the mortgage, all or part of the house may be considered
marital property. However, no two situations may be the same and any questions
about the specifics of your situation should be directed to a knowledgeable attorney.
Going Through a Divorce? Call (407) 603-3460
There are few events in life which can be more difficult than navigating
a divorce and the outcome can affect you for years, if not decades to
come. If you are seeking legal assistance with the division of assets,
contact the legal team at R. Gregory Colvin LLC. Our lead Orlando family
law attorney possesses more than 25 years of legal experience and is dedicated
to finding peaceful and effective solutions.
Request a FREE consultation today and speak to an attorney about your family’s situation.