The end of a marriage can be a challenging time in an individual’s life. If you have already made the difficult decision to file for divorce, one of your next steps will be to divide your marital property. Apart from child custody disputes, dividing the assets that a couple acquired during their marriage can be the most complicated and emotionally charged aspect of separation.

A hard-working family attorney can assist you and your spouse in achieving a fair and equitable division before the case goes before Florida courts. Seek the services of a Coral Gables equitable distribution lawyer to ensure you are getting what you deserve.

Distinguishing Personal Property from Marital Property

A person’s assets when they enter a marriage are that individual’s personal property that they will keep if the union ends. In addition, any inheritances or gifts a spouse received from others while married will count as personal property as long as it is not commingled. Marital property is anything the couple acquired during the marriage, regardless of who paid for it. This can also include gifts that were given to both spouses together.

Equitable Property Division

Florida Statutes § 61.075 subjects all marital property to equitable distribution. Ideally, individuals and their attorneys could agree on which property belongs solely to one spouse and what assets will be divided. Often, partners are willing to donate an item of personal property to the marital property “fund’ in return for an item of marital property they want. These trades are acceptable if both spouses agree.

If Florida courts become involved, they must divide equitably, not equally. Although most divorces end with each party receiving roughly half of the marital property, many factors could end up favoring one individual over the other. For example, if one spouse wasted marital assets through gambling, overspending, or addiction, the other might receive a more significant portion.

Other factors that might influence the award of marital property include each party’s contributions to the marriage, including non-paid contributions like raising a child. If the marriage produced children, Judges try to maintain the children’s lifestyle as much as possible. A Coral Gables division of assets attorney can help an individual understand the factors that might influence the outcome.

Avoiding Litigation for Dividing Property

People who have begun divorce proceedings are often eager for the legal process to conclude so they can move on with their lives. The divorce could drag on for years if the couple must litigate property division questions. Fortunately, there are other ways of reaching an agreement to speed up the process.

If the spouses have good communication, they could participate in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to reach an equitable distribution plan that is acceptable to both parties. Mediation and arbitration agreements are enforceable by Florida law and allow the individuals to create a solution that works for them.

If ADR is not an option, or if it fails, a Coral Gables attorney can attempt a fair compromise in asset division. They can review tax returns, loan documents, bank and brokerage accounts, and other relevant information to get familiar with the marital property. They can also engage real estate and business valuation experts, fine art appraisers, and other professionals to ensure that the assets are divided equitably between the divorcing couple.

Speak With a Florida Equitable Distribution Attorney in Coral Gables Today

If you are getting a divorce and want to ensure that your spouse is offering you a fair share of the marital assets, consult a Coral Gables equitable distribution lawyer immediately. Do not assume that you must accept less than you deserve. We can assist you in separating your personal property, valuing the marital estate, and claiming what is rightfully yours. Call The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm today for a free consultation.