Transitioning one household into two is one of the many challenges that divorcing couples face. If you were to divorce in an “equal distribution” state, you’d be required to divide the value of your marital property 50-50 with your spouse. But, if you’re divorcing in Florida, you don’t necessarily need to divide your joint assets and liabilities in this strict fashion.
Florida is known as an “equitable distribution” state. This means that divorcing couples in Florida benefit from a kind of flexibility not made available to couples who file for divorce in equal distribution states.
What is fair?
The primary question that divorcing couples in Florida must ask themselves is “what is fair?”. An equitable distribution of assets is one that is fair to both parties and takes unique circumstances into account. Most of the time, assets and debts that are newly acquired during a couple’s marriage are treated as part of their marital estate. Yet, there may be a good reason to treat the jointly owned property and/or debts as “more or less” belonging to one spouse or another.
For example, if you opened a family business while married that was funded by an inheritance left to you by your parents, it may be fair to award more of the value of the business to you. On the flip side, if you opened a business thanks primarily to your spouse’s efforts, it may be fair to award more of the value of the business to them.
If you’ve been married for more than a few months, chances are that dividing your marital property won’t be an easy or straightforward undertaking. However, carefully considering what a fair distribution of your marital estate may look like – given your unique circumstances – will help to ensure that your process is informed.