Over the course of your marriage, like many people in Florida, you and your spouse likely amassed various assets and possessions. Collectively, these assets that couples acquire throughout their marriage are generally known as marital property. Marital property could include jewelry, homes and other real estate properties, artwork, wine collections, vehicles and bank accounts, among other things. Should you divorce, much of that property will, in most cases, have to be divided between you and your spouse.
For many couples, the property division portion can be the most contentious aspect of a divorce. In this post, we will discuss how marital property is divided in the state of Florida.
Unless you and your spouse have a prenuptial agreement, or other arrangement, that divides your marital property differently, a family law judge will generally divide your assets based on equitable distribution. Under Chapter 61 of the Florida statutes, property division is based on what is equitable or fair, as opposed to simply splitting the assets down the middle and awarding each spouse an equal share.
Florida state law indicates that the court should start the proceedings under the premise that the shares should be equal for both you and your spouse. There are, however, a number of factors that may be considered by the judge, which could result in you each being awarded a different sized share. These factors include:
- The economic circumstances of both you and your spouse
- Each of your contributions to your marriage
- How long you were married
- Any joint or personal debts that you and your spouse may have
- The health of you and your spouse
- Each of your education levels
Additionally, certain types of assets may also require special consideration before being divided. For example, while a house or other parcel of land might be sold, with a portion of the proceeds going to each you and your spouse, a business owned by you or your spouse would generally need to be handled differently. In many cases, the spouse who founded the company would retain ownership and the other spouse may be given a cash award to account for any interests he or she may have had in the company.
To learn more about this topic, please visit our divorce and separation page.