Property division is one of the most stressful and complicated parts of filing for divorce. Couples acquire many assets and debts before and during the marriage, so it can be challenging to figure out how to divide them. Seeking the counsel of a Florida divorce attorney will help ensure assets are divided fairly and in your favor. Florida Statute 61.075 defines how property division should occur when a couple files for divorce. Here’s what you need to know about dividing property after filing for divorce in Florida.
Marital Property vs. Non-Marital Property
All property or wealth a couple obtains, uses, and maintains during a marriage is subject to asset division during a divorce. Property includes financial accounts, homes, boats, cars, sporting equipment, and any personal property of more than nominal value. How assets are divided following a divorce depends on whether it is marital or non-marital property.
Marital property includes anything of value acquired during the marriage, regardless of who paid for it or earned it, and regardless of who took title. Marital property also includes assets that belonged to a spouse before marriage but were changed to joint ownership after the wedding. A non-marital asset loses its non-marital status when it is retitled in joint names or is “co-mingled” with marital property, such as depositing an inheritance into a joint account. Marital property also includes gifts to the married couple, any retirement accounts, pensions, and insurance plans acquired after the marriage.
Non-marital property is property that one spouse acquired before the marriage. Non-marital property or any non-marital portions of property are not included in the equitable division of assets in a divorce. However, non-marital assets (owned before the marriage) may have a marital component if their value increased as a result of investment of marital funds or efforts by either party during the marriage.
Any debts incurred during the marriage and existing at the time of the divorce are marital, regardless of who incurred the debt or why. Debts incurred before the marriage, such as student loans, are non-marital.
Most states, including Florida, are equitable distribution states. This means that assets are generally divided between spouses fairly (as determined by a judge), not “down the middle.” The court tries to insure that all marital assets and debts are equally (or fairly) distributed. A judge will determine the total value of all martial assets and the total value of all martial debts. Then the judge will subtract the total debts from the total assets. The result is the net value of the marriage. The assets and debts are allocated to each party so that, to the extent possible, each party will leave the marriage with one half the net value.
Factors that May Affect Property Division
Determining the fair distribution of property may be affected by several factors, such as:
● Marriage length
● Financial contributions of each spouse
● Non-financial contributions to the household
● Career changes to care for children or family members
● Difficulty in dividing a particular asset
● Dependent children
● The economic status of each spouse
● Intentional damage to assets following filing divorce
● Each spouse’s ability to support themselves
Spouses are not “punished” for bad behavior during asset division, such as unfairly dividing assets against a spouse who committed adultery. However, if marital assets were used while committing adultery or maliciously dissipated for purposes unrelated to the marriage, the judge may consider this when distributing funds when the divorce is finalized.
What Happens to the Family Home During a Divorce?
There are several ways a home may be divided following a divorce. One of the simplest ways is to sell the marital home and divide the income from the sale between the spouses. One spouse may also consider buying out the other spouse in the home’s title for 50% of the home’s current value. If financially sustainable, one spouse may request to keep the house while the other is given more money or fewer debts to make up for the home’s value. This is often the scenario when children are involved, and one parent would like to remain in the family home.
Equitable Asset Division During Divorce
The attorneys at Peppler Law, P.A. are dedicated to ensuring you receive the best possible outcome during your divorce proceeding. We will fight for you to receive equitable asset division to ensure you can become independent after the divorce is finalized. Call our office at 407-278-6213 to schedule a consultation.