Equitable Distribution Laws in Florida
Knowledgeable Help from Our Tampa Divorce Attorney
In the state of Florida, courts divide divorcing couples' property based on equitable distribution laws. The word "equitable" does not mean the same as the word "equal." "Equitable" essentially means "fair." The courts must provide a fair distribution of assets according to what each spouse brought into the marriage and the contributions each spouse has made to the marriage.
The courts generally uphold any prenuptial agreement that determines how property should be divided in the event of a divorce. Unfortunately, many people do not create prenuptial agreements. In such cases, you will want a Tampa divorce lawyer to advocate for you during this time if you hope to keep many of your assets.
When going through a divorce, you will have two options:
- Divide the property voluntarily through mediation
- Go to court and litigate over the property distribution while letting the court ultimately decide
How is Property Divided in Florida?
It is important to work with a lawyer who has solid experience handling cases like yours. Our Tampa divorce attorney can patiently learn your circumstances and provide legal counsel. In the event of unavoidable disagreements, a judge or arbitrator will take over and decide division for the parties.
Judges divide property based on:
- Duration of the marriage
- Which party will live in the marital home after the divorce
- Debts and liabilities of each party
- Economic circumstances of each party
- History of intentionally wasting or destroying material assets
- Contribution of each spouse's career or education to benefit the family
- Contributions of each party to marital and non-marital assets
- Contribution of each party as a parent or homemaker
Distinguishing Marital Property & Separate Property
Separate property includes any items that are not a part of the property distribution. For example, any items acquired before marriage or any gifts specifically given to one spouse are considered separate property. Also, inheritances to one spouse are considered separate property. All items exchanged or purchased with separate property are also exclusive to the one spouse.
Marital property includes all items that were acquired during the marriage by one or both spouses with income or another source of financial gain and that are not gifts or inheritances. Assets include all retirement accounts, deferred compensation, profit-sharing assets, money, property, and benefits. You will want to make sure to include all marital property when drafting a division plan.
Catherine W. Real, P.A. can help clients divide their property fairly without even having to go to court! Contact the firm today to get assistance.
Further Reading on Equitable Distribution: