Every jurisdiction has its own approach for dividing marital property during the divorce process. In Florida, Judges use a process known as equitable distribution. This approach is designed to provide an equitable split of the marital property, even if that division is not equal among spouses.
If you are facing the possibility of a divorce, a West Miami equitable distribution lawyer can help. Having an experienced family attorney by your side gives you the best chance of a fair division of assets in your case.
What is Equitable Distribution?
Equitable distribution of marital property is intended to provide a fair outcome in a divorce case. It is important to understand that an equitable division does not necessarily mean an even distribution. In some cases, a Judge might determine the most equitable outcome is for one spouse to receive more than the other in their divorce.
It is also important to understand what kind of assets equitable division deals with. A Judge is only able to divide marital assets, which is the property owned jointly by the couple. Individual property—which are the assets owned by one spouse but not the other—is not divided during this process.
Usually, individual property is owned by a spouse prior to the marriage. While most property acquired during a marriage is treated as marital property, there are some exceptions to be aware of. For example, a person’s family inheritance is not considered marital property, even when that inheritance is received during the course of a marriage. A West Miami equitable distribution attorney can help with the classification of these assets.
Steps in the Property Division Process
There is a standard process in the equitable distribution process—and a West Miami attorney can help from start to finish.
The first step in the process involves identifying and classifying assets. Before the court can distribute the assets, the Judge must first identify everything the couple owns. This means reviewing all the assets, both individual and marital. Once these items are listed and classified, the court can turn its attention to valuation.
A critical point in this process is placing a monetary value on the marital assets. In order for the Judge to divide these assets in a way that is equitable, there must be a value assigned to each of them. Often, the courts rely on the opinion of experts in order to place a value on these marital assets.
Once the court has identified all assets and determined their value, the final step is to distribute them. It is up to the Judge to determine what represents an equitable distribution. While it is not uncommon for the court to decide an even distribution is equitable, there are situations where one spouse will end up receiving more than the other.
Talk to an Equitable Distribution Attorney in West Miami Today
When you are involved in a divorce, it is important to understand what equitable distribution means. The Judge in your case has an obligation to divide your marital assets equitably and you have the chance to be heard during that process. Let a West Miami equitable distribution lawyer serve as your advocate.