During a divorce spouses not only have to handle the termination of the romantic relationship, but also have to divide all of the property and debt acquired during the marriage. Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means the court divide all marital property and debt equally between the spouses, unless based on the facts such division is inappropriate.
When determining how to divide the marital estate, which includes assets and debt, the court considers several factors, including the following:
- Contribution to the marriage by each spouse;
- Economic circumstances of each party;
- Duration of the marriage; and
- The interruption of personal career and educational opportunity of either spouse.
It is important to understand equitable distribution applies to marital assets and liabilities only. Proper identification of property and debt as marital can be a difficult process, especially when the parties have been married for an extended period and acquired significant property together. It is highly recommended to consult an experienced divorce attorney to discuss your options.
West Palm Beach Equitable Distribution Lawyer
The attorneys at Quality Family Law are dedicated to helping you rebuild your life after a divorce. The family law division of Quality Family Law will address all of your questions and concerns about the divorce process, including questions about division of marital property, alimony, child support, and child custody.
With skill and compassion, the attorneys of Quality Family Law will guide you through each step of the divorce process. Quality Family Law proudly represents individuals and families throughout Palm Beach County, Florida and the surround areas.
Contact Quality Family Law at (561) 557-8686 or submit an online form to schedule a confidential review of your case.
Florida Equitable Distribution Information Center
- What is equitable distribution?
- What is marital property?
- Where do I learn more about equitable distribution?
Equitable distribution refers to the process of dividing marital property and debt between the spouses. Generally, the court will divide the marital estate equally; however, there are circumstances which warrant disproportionate division.
The court considers several factors when determining who marital property and debt should be divided, including the following:
- Contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker;
- Economic circumstances of each party;
- Duration of the marriage;
- The interruption of personal career and educational opportunity of either spouse;
- The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse;
- The desirability of retaining an asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by another party;
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to both marital and nonmarital assets of the parties;
- The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so, it is in the best interest of the child or that party, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence until the child is emancipated or until exclusive possession is otherwise terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. In making this determination, the court shall first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, whether other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home;
- The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition;
- Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
Documentation and other proof may be required to support a particular division of the marital estate, including but not limited to the following:
- Bank statements and other relevant documentation from the bank or financial institution;
- Proof of income, including paystubs, W-2’s, and tax returns;
- Loan information, including auto loans, credit cards, student loans, etc.
- Proof of non-financial contributions, including letters from friends and family, proof of community service, etc.
The aforementioned list is not exhaustive. To understand what evidence is necessary in your case, it is imperative to consult an experienced equitable distribution attorney about your distinct circumstances.
Equitable distribution applies to the marital estate, which includes marital assets and liabilities, only. Under Florida Stat. § 61.075 (6) marital assets and liabilities include the following:
- Assets acquired and liabilities incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by them;
- The enhancement in value and appreciation of nonmarital assets resulting from the efforts of either party during the marriage;
- The enhancement in value and appreciation of nonmarital assets resulting from the contribution to or expenditure thereon of marital funds, other forms of martial assets, or both by either spouse;
- Interspousal gifts or gifts between spouses made during the marriage;
- Certain rights acquired during the marriage, like retirement accounts, pensions, and annuities.
Generally, inheritance and property or debts, which were acquired before the marriage or after separation, are considered separate property and are not subject to equitable distribution.
Common examples of marital assets include the following:
- Family home or residence purchased during the marriage;
- Retirement benefits accrued during the marriage;
- Vehicles purchased or acquired during the marriage.
The determination of marital property can be complex and depending on the circumstances might require review by a forensic accountant or other financial professional. An experienced divorce attorney will know how to properly identify items included in the marital estate and consult financial professionals, if necessary.
Florida Statute § 61.075 ǀ Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets and Liabilities-The Florida Legislature publishes Florida laws online, including those regarding equitable distribution or the division of the marital estate. Read the full text here.
Quality Family Law ǀ Palm Beach County Division of Property Attorneys
Divorce is an emotional process. It is important to have sound legal counsel by your side to protect you and your family’s financial interests. The skilled and compassionate attorneys of Quality Family Law will explain your legal options and guide you through the entire divorce process.
Quality Family Law represent individuals in all areas of family law, including divorce, child support, child custody, paternity, alimony, prenuptial agreements, and more. Contact Quality Family Law at (561) 557-8686 or submit an online form to schedule an appointment.
Quality Family Law represents family law and divorce clients throughout Palm Beach County, including West Palm, Palm Beach, Delray Beach, and surrounding areas.
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