What do Florida Courts Consider During Equitable Division?

On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Divorce on Thursday, August 20, 2015.

In Florida, because of the natural anxiety associated with the divorce process, divorcing couples may wonder how their property will be divided. Florida courts' most basic approach to property division in divorce situations is to designate non-marital assets versus marital assets and to then divide the marital assets equally between the divorcing spouses. The process is referred to as equitable division of property. Equitable, though, doesn't always mean "equal," which can at first appear confusing to divorcing spouses.

While the court strives for a fair and equal division of property, in many cases an unequal distribution may be justified. The court will determine this by evaluating several factors. These factors can include the contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including child rearing and homemaking contributions; the economic circumstances of each of the parties; the duration of the marriage; if either spouse experienced an interrupted personal career or educational opportunity during the marriage; the contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse; the desirability of retaining an asset, such as an interest in a business, without any claim from the other spouse; and the desirability of retaining the family home as a residence for any minor children of the marriage.

In addition, the court will also consider the contributions of each spouse as far as producing marital assets and liabilities as well as non-marital assets. The court can also consider the intentional dissipation of marital assets after filing for divorce or within two years prior to filing. Finally, the court may consider any other factors necessary to achieve a fair resolution and property division for the couple.

While these divorce legal issues can be complex, divorcing spouses can also reach many agreements themselves related to property division. In addition, prenuptial agreements can also outline property division outcomes. Whenever the court is involved, though, it will try to reach as equitable an outcome as possible for the parties. Spouses concerned with protecting their property interests can benefit from an experienced divorce attorney's advice and guidance.

Source: The 2015 Florida Statutes, "61.075 Equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities," Accessed Aug. 15, 2015

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