During a divorce, a couple will need to make decisions on how to divide their shared property. This process can be one of the more challenging parts of a divorce, and it is easy to feel overwhelmed when trying to sort through complicated financial issues, especially when you are struggling emotionally as well. Property division can be difficult, but your attorney will be able to help you understand the process.
Florida is an “equitable division” state, and any marital property will be divided equally upon divorce. Marital property is considered any property that has been acquired during the marriage using shared funds or labor. In most cases, the division will be equal, but there may be reasons for unequal division. Non-marital property, liability, and assets acquired before the marriage are the sole property of the spouse who owned it before the marriage, and will remain so after the divorce.
The law provides for equal distribution of the couple’s marital property, but it is up to the judge to make the decision about dividing property. If the judge believes that equitable division is unfair, they may consider other factors to make the decision about a fair division. These factors include:
If certain assets, like a business, are difficult to divide, they may be rewarded entirely to one spouse, and money or other property may be awarded to the other spouse to balance the division. If there are children involved in the divorce, their needs and wellbeing will be considered when dividing assets like the marital home.
Marital property is property or assets that have been acquired by one or both spouses during the course of the marriage, using shared funds or labor. Regardless of the name on the title, account, or deed, marital property is considered to be jointly owned. Marital property also includes appreciation in value of non-marital assets through shared labor or funds, pension benefits, worker’s compensation benefits, social security income, interest in pending lawsuits, and stock options, if they were acquired during the marriage. Marital property can also be any shared debts, mortgages, loans, or joint accounts that a couple acquires during the course of their marriage. Upon divorce, these debts will also be divided.
According to Florida law, non-marital property is any liability, assets, or property acquired before the marriage by either spouse. There are also limited situations in which property gained during the marriage can be considered non-marital property, as well. Examples of non-marital property are:
When a divorce occurs, the couple must decide the division of their assets, or a judge will decide for them. In order to fairly divide assets, all marital property must undergo valuation. The value of marital assets must be separated from non-marital assets, which can be a complicated process, especially when real estate or an appreciation in value of a business or asset is involved.
Couples may choose to sell certain properties and divide the proceeds, or assign ownership to one party in entirety. They may also choose to share ownership if the divorce is on good terms. This commonly happens when there is a family home involved and a couple agrees to keep the home until the children have moved out, then handle the division of the property.
The couple will also need to divide any debts, loans, shared accounts, and mortgages they hold together. When assets are divided, the spouse who receives a certain property may also receive any associated debt. If one spouse is granted the house, they may also take on responsibility for the mortgage as well.
When it comes to dividing property, you need experienced legal advocacy. A family law attorney with an extensive background in divorce law and property division will be able to guide your through the process, and negotiate on your behalf to ensure you receive the divorce settlement you prefer. There are many factors to be considered during the division of property, and your lawyer will ensure that your best interests are protected.
You deserve tested legal representation during your divorce. Attorney Russell S. Hershkowitz has over 25 years of experience handling divorce cases, and has been a member of Florida Bar Association's Family Law section for more than 20 years. During his time serving the Orange, Lake, Volusia, and Seminole Counties, he has gained familiarity with local judges and knows how to effectively communicate with them for you.
Attorney Hershkowitz provides thoughtful and committed advocacy, and will work to ensure that you understand all the details of your case. Our dedicated staff will ensure that no detail in your case is overlooked, and we will build a relationship with you based on trust and communication.
Contact our Altamonte Springs divorce attorney today by calling (407) 753-4111 to schedule a free consultation.