Dividing Property in a Florida Divorce
Each state has different rules when it comes to dividing property in a divorce. In Florida, the law demands an equitable division of marital property between spouses. Although this often means property is divided equally, in some situations, “equitable” division simply means fair division in the eyes of a judge.
When determining what constitutes an equitable property division, a judge may consider many factors. These factors include how long the couple was married, both spouses’ financial and economic circumstances and contributions to the partnership, the educational or career opportunities of both spouses and the improvement of marital or non-marital assets. A judge may also examine any interruption in either spouse’s educational or career opportunities, liabilities brought on by either party and any evidence of either partner’s intentional destruction or waste of shared assets after the divorce petition was filed.
Only marital assets, including property and debts, must be fairly divided when a couple divorces. Marital assets are items the couple acquired during the course of the marriage, in addition to vested or non-vested benefits, retirement funds, pension funds and insurance plans. Non-marital property includes anything that either spouse owned prior to the marriage or acquired during the marriage by inheritance or as a gift.
For some couples, it may be possible to successfully negotiate property division without any outside help. For most, however, it’s necessary to seek help from attorneys who are experienced in divorce law. If you are preparing to start the divorce process, consult a dedicated Fort Lauderdale divorce lawyer.