Divorce is a complicated process that can involve many different steps to undo the many connections to people make over the course of a marriage. In Florida, it is not uncommon for the parties to a divorce to negotiate matters related to support, their children, and their property. When they must work out how they will share in the distribution of their assets, they must understand some important information about Florida’s marital property laws.
This post will introduce readers to the concept of equitable distribution and how the state of Florida identifies marital assets and liabilities. This post is informational in content and should not be read as specific legal advice. When readers have questions or concerns about the property division or asset distribution processes of their divorces, they can take their inquiries to their trusted family law attorneys.
What is equitable distribution?
Equitable distribution is a legal concept based on fairness. Unlike other jurisdictions that use community property to divide the assets of married people into equal shares upon their divorce, equitable distribution looks at many factors to determine how to fairly assign each party certain assets from their shared property.
Some of the factors that can be included in property division negotiations regarding equitable distribution include:
- The length of the parties’ marriage;
- How each party contributed to the marriage;
- The financial situation of the parties;
- If either or both parties attempted to waste assets; and
- Other factors relevant to their divorce proceedings.
When dealing with equitable distribution during divorce, it can be beneficial to have a strong family law advocate on one side to help ensure fairness in the process.
Identifying marital assets
Equitable distribution only applies to marital assets and liabilities. It does not apply to non-marital assets or liabilities. Marital assets are those that are owned by both of the parties to the divorce proceedings. If a parcel or item of property is only owned by one divorcing party, then the item or parcel is not subject to distribution and the individual keeps it as their own after their divorce.
Readers should understand, though, some items of non-marital property can be converted into marital property over time. If non-marital property is used for marital purposes, or if it is improved with marital assets, some or all of the formerly non-marital property may be deemed marital for property division purposes.
Distributing property pursuant to a Florida divorce can be complicated. There is no reason that individuals must face these and other family law matters on their own. They can choose to work with trusted family law and divorce lawyers for help with their unique legal needs.