While there are a few states that take a so-called “community property” approach to the asset division process during a divorce, Florida is one of the many states which instead follows an “equitable distribution” model. Equitable distribution applies only to assets that a court decides are “marital property.” The idea behind it is to make sure each person in a divorce gets a fair amount of property based on the circumstances of their marriage, rather than a strictly equal amount.
What this means in practice, though, is that family court Judges in Florida have a lot of leeway when it comes to deciding what would be “equitable” for a particular couple. With a capable family attorney’s help, you may be able to push for a division of property that suits your best interests. Before trying to handle this complicated process on your own, you should strongly consider reaching out to a Pinecrest equitable distribution lawyer who can represent you in court.
How Does State Law Define Equitable Distribution?
Florida Statutes § 61.075 lays out rules and guidelines for equitable distribution of a divorcing couple’s property and assets. This statute lists several specific factors that Judges are supposed to consider when deciding how to equitably split property between two divorcing people, including:
- How long the couple’s marriage lasted;
- Each person’s personal assets and debts;
- How much money each person makes and how much money they are likely to make in the future based on their education and work skills;
- Sacrifices that either person made to help the other’s career—for example, staying home and taking care of children;
- Whether the couple had children during their marriage and the obligations each person has to care for those children moving forward;
- Each person’s physical and emotional health.
Courts can also factor in any other aspects they think are relevant when deciding on property division. A Pinecrest equitable distribution attorney can consult with a spouse and determine which factors will result in a better outcome for them.
The Difference Between “Marital” and “Separate” Property in Pinecrest
One important thing to know about when it comes to understanding equitable distribution during a divorce is the difference between marital and separate property. Separate property is generally anything that either spouse owned before they got married, was given as a gift or inheritance during their marriage, or established as separate property through a postnuptial agreement made prior to getting divorced. Everything else that either person obtained while they were legally married to each other is generally considered marital property.
All the rules for equitable distribution mentioned above apply just to marital property in almost every situation. There are limited exceptions made only in situations where a Judge considers an existing agreement between spouses to be extremely unfair. That said, there is still a lot that can go into determining which assets actually count as marital or separate property during a divorce proceeding. Guidance from a property division lawyer in Pinecrest will be important in effectively navigating this part of the divorce.
Contact a Pinecrest Equitable Distribution Attorney for Assistance Today
Property division is often an emotional part of the divorce process in Florida. If you are unfamiliar with how state law examines this issue and how to pursue favorable terms in your final divorce order, you may find yourself losing a lot of property that you assumed was already yours.
A Pinecrest equitable distribution lawyer can provide the customized support to enforce your property rights. Call today for a free consultation. The Florida Probate & Family Law Firm knows how to present your wishes to a Judge that can lead to your desired outcome.