There’s a long-standing joke about men that goes, “He who dies with the most toys, wins.” Of course, most Florida readers will appreciate how much that flies in the face of the even older statement about wealth and material goods — you can’t take them with you.
Divorce might be said by some to mark the death of something. But it also represents something of a rebirth for the two parties involved. In Florida, where the concept of equitable division of property is practiced, that also may mean that some baggage of the marital past has to be carried into the new life. Not only might property and assets be subject to division, but also debts.
The guiding principal in property division begins with the idea that the marriage represents a contracted state between two people. Therefore, if an asset or piece of property comes into the ownership of the couple during the time they were married, it is usually subject to equitable division when they divorce.
The same applies to debts. Any standing debts at the time of divorce are expected to be divided equitably between the two parties. The courts might find reason to adjust the balance of the scales somewhat if a debt, say from gambling, are clearly associated with only one spouse. But debts due to general expenses of running the house or joint credit card balances may be part of the debt-property division process.
Your financial planning portfolio may be particularly challenging to deal with in divorce. If one spouse has an IRA and the other does not, the assets may face equitable division and a special, sometimes complicated, document called a Qualified Domestic Relations Order may be required.
The ease or difficulty of a divorce typically depends on the parties involved. Having skilled legal counsel at your side is the way to be sure that your equitable division rights are protected.