Florida Statute 61.075 controls how the parties’ assets and liabilities are to be distributed. As previously discussed, the court must first determine which assets and liabilities are classified as “marital” (see previous blog for more information on this topic).
Upon said identification, the Courts must begin with the premise that distribution should be equal, unless there is justification for same. The statute provides factors for the Court’s consideration for an unequal division of the marital assets and liabilities as follows:
- Contributions to the marriage by both parties, including care of both the children and the home.
- The economic circumstances of both parties.
- The duration of the marriage.
- Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
- The contributions from one spouse to the other spouse’s career or educational opportunities.
- The desirability of retaining any assets, including an interest in a business, corporation or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference from the other party.
- The contributions of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and non-marital 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 the party, and it is financially feasibly for the parties to maintain the residences. In making this decision, the court will examine whether it is in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, it will look at whether other equities would be served by giving one party exclusively use and possession of the marital home.
- The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after 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 parties.
The date for determining the assets and liabilities as marital is the earliest of: the parties’ entry of a valid separation agreement, a date agreed upon by both the parties, or date of filing a petition for dissolution of marriage. The value of said assets and liabilities is to the judge’s discretion as to what is just and equitable under the circumstances. In many cases, the valuation date of marital assets is as close to the time of Trial as possible to produce the most fair distribution for both parties. However, in same cases a valuation date is identified as prior to Trial because of an extreme increase or reduction in value of the assets by a spouse since filed.
If you have any questions regarding the above as it relates to your case, either submit an online inquiry for a consult or call The Mark’s Law Firm at 407.872.3161.