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Division of Marital Assets in Florida

Florida is a state that practices "equitable distribution" of marital property during a divorce. Equitable distribution that means the court looks at everything in the marital estate and makes a determination based on a list of factors under the law. The court looks at the marital estate to determine how to divide it fairly.

The court is required to give its justification for how it determined this fair division in writing. Non-marital property is any real or personal property that was owned by either spouse before the marriage. The non-marital property of each party remains with the spouse that owns that particular property. Equitable distribution means that each party presumably starts with a 50/50 split, then rules are applied in an effort to make the division fair for both parties. Equitable distribution is not equal distribution.

Matters that may affect the division of assets in Florida include the following:

  • debt and divorce
  • assets acquired during the marriage
  • equitable distribution
  • separate earnings
  • partial distribution
  • jointly-owned business
  • value and appreciation of non-marital assets
  • liquidation of assets
  • pets and animals
  • effect on probate and life insurance

In a community property state, spouses are joint owners of all marital property. It is the court's responsibility to find a way to split everything 50/50. In an equitable distribution property state,  it is the court's job to divide marital property fairly, not equally. 

Division of Assets Lawyer in West Palm Beach, Florida

If you are pursuing a divorce in Florida, one of your main concerns might be what you will lose during the divorce process.

Call the lawyers of Quality Family Law at (561) 557-8686 today to learn more about your legal options. Don’t wait. Your first consultation is free.

For your convenience, we have an office located in West Palm Beach, Florida. We also serve clients in the North Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Wellington, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Springs, and Boynton Beach areas.

What is “Marital Property”?

In a divorce, both parties must submit an inventory list of all the property they own or possess, as well as their liabilities at the date of separation. The "date of separation" is the day that someone filed for divorce. An inventory list may include the following: personal items, automobiles, equipment, collectibles, real property, bank accounts, cash, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, businesses, and debts.

The marital estate is comprised of all of the property obtained during the marriage. It does not include property that was acquired before the marriage. For instance, if Spouse A owned a sports car at the time she married Spouse B, the sports car is not marital property. Property gained in exchange for property owned prior to marriage is also excluded.

Marital property also does not include gifts made to a particular spouse, rather than the couple, by people other than one of the spouses. Marital property, however, includes anything acquired during the divorce. When determining marital property, the court will honor most legally valid prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements and exclude most property outlined.

Debts acquired during the marriage may also be considered marital property. A debt acquired before the marriage may not be considered marital property, while a debt acquired during the marriage could be.For example, if Spouse A goes to law school before the marriage and acquires student debt while attending, the debt is not marital property. If Spouse A goes while married, the student debt is marital property.

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Wrongful Use of Marital Funds

In many divorce proceedings, one side will argue that the other side wrongfully used marital funds prior to and during divorce proceedings so that the assets would not be split during the divorce.

Dissipation of marital property is the spending of money so that a soon-to-be-former spouse cannot have it. The idea, for the dissipating spouse, is to use money or assets so that the property is not in existence at the time of a divorce. If it is not present, it cannot be considered marital property, therefore, it will not be included in the calculation of a monetary award. 

If the trial court finds that a spouse has intentionally dissipated or misused marital property to avoid its inclusion in the division calculations they may be held in contempt. As a result, the property that is dissipated is included as existing marital property and valued along with the other existing marital property. 

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Division of Marital Assets Lawyer in West Palm Beach, FL

If you are dealing with a divorce in West Palm Beach Florida or surrounding area’s contact Quality Family Law today.  Our attorneys work with clients in  West Palm Beach, North Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Jupiter, Wellington, Delray Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Springs, and Boynton Beach, Florida.

Call Quality Family Law at (561) 557-8686 today to set up an initial consultation to discuss your marital assets division.

This page was last updated March 7, 2017

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