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What does 'equitable' mean in a Florida divorce?

If you are getting divorced in Florida, you may be especially concerned about how you will divide your assets. Will you walk away with nothing? Will your ex get all your investments and retirement accounts as the person who contributed to these the most? Will you be able to keep your house?

Before you jump to any conclusions, you should understand that in Florida, courts comply with equitable distribution laws when it comes to property division during divorce. This means that courts will divide property equitably, or fairly. 

It may or may not be equal

People typically receive about half the marital property when they divorce. However, there is no guarantee of an equal split; many factors can tip the scales so that one person gets a larger share of the marital property. These factors include:

  • How long a couple was married
  • The amount of separate property one or both parties may have
  • Each person's economic circumstances
  • Each person's contributions to the marriage
  • Whether one person interrupted his or her career to stay at home
  • Intentional waste of marital assets during the divorce process

These and other factors can affect how much of the marital assets each person will receive in order to be fair.

Retaining specific assets

Another important thing to understand about equitable distribution is that you won't necessarily take every asset and divide it between parties. There may be specific assets or property that one person wants to keep intact, like a retirement account or home. In these situations, spouses (or the courts) can negotiate alternative solutions that allow one person to retain an asset in full.

Securing a fair, agreement resolution

While the courts can certainly make decisions on the division of assets, divorcing spouses can maintain more control over the process and reach agreements more quickly when they resolve property division outside of court. 

In either case, it can be helpful to work with an attorney to ensure the division of assets is satisfactory and, in fact, fair. This process can be complicated and subjective, and having legal counsel can help you avoid costly mistakes.

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