How Does Property Get Distributed In Divorce?

For those who being the dissolution of marriage process an initial concern commonly arises regarding how the belongings and finances will be divided: who gets what?

In the state of Florida the two parties can either agree among themselves, or the court will hold a hearing and impose its own decision on them regarding the division of their property.  If the two parties choose to reach an agreement between themselves, the court will ratify the agreement with a Court Order.

The basic principle of property division in the state of Florida begins with the identification of assets and liabilities.  Property includes everything that can be considered an asset such as a house, cars, timeshares, investment property, investment accounts, retirements accounts, retirements assets, stocks, bank accounts, a business, cash-value life insurance policies, furniture, and jewelry.

Liabilities generally include the home, credit card debt, etc.  The next step is to determine whether the assets and liabilities are considered marital or non-marital property.  Although martial and non-marital properties can sometimes be difficult to clearly determine, below are some examples of both.

  • Non-martial property may include:
    • Property acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage
    • Property acquired by either spouse via a non inter-spousal gift or inheritance
    • Income derived from non-marital assets during the marriage, unless that income was used or relied upon as a martial asset
    • Assets and liabilities excluded from martial property via a valid written agreement, such as a pre-nuptial agreement
  • Marital property may include:
    • Property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage
    • Enhancement of value of a non-martial asset, as a result of efforts by either spouse during the marriage or from a contribution of marital funds to an expenditure of marital funds or assets
    • Inter-spousal gifts during the marriage
    • All vested or non-vested benefits or funds occurred during the marriage such as retirement, pension, profit sharing, annuity, deferred compensation, and or insurance plans or programs
    • Property held by the parties in tenancy by the entirety or otherwise commingled or acquired during or prior to the marriage.

If you have any questions feel free to contact our office.

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