Other Complex Property Division Issues in Divorce
In a complex divorce, you need an attorney who has represented clients in all sorts of unusual circumstances and can use this experience to help you and your specific needs. My name is Alan Robert Burton, Attorney at Law, and I have represented men and women for more than 40 years throughout South Florida who need help when they encounter all types of property division concerns that need skilled counsel to ensure equitable division occurs.
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What Do Special Equity and Unequal Distribution of Assets Mean in Florida?
Several years ago, if a spouse felt that he or she was entitled to a larger distribution than 50-50, he or she would plead a claim for a special equity. Special equity has now been abolished in the state of Florida.
If you are seeking to receive a greater proportion of the assets than 50 percent, you now must plead for an “unequal distribution of the assets,” rather than pleading for or asking for “special equity.” You should clearly set forth all of the various reasons why you believe you are entitled to more than 50 percent of the assets. You can also seek an interim partial distribution of marital assets, based upon a showing of extraordinary circumstances. The specifics of this provision in the law are also set forth in the current Florida equitable distribution statute.
How is Real Estate Dealt With During Divorce?
Issues regarding the distribution of real estate in a divorce case are common problems. If the parties are in agreement that one spouse shall have exclusive use of the marital home, they have to make it clear that exclusive use of the home will terminate upon the remarriage of the spouse in possession of the home. If there are minor children exclusive occupancy will usually end when the youngest child attains the age of 18 or upon completion of high school, unless there is an agreement to the contrary.
Generally speaking, it is improper to allow the spouse to have continuing occupancy of the marital home after his or her subsequent remarriage. Often times a spouse may have exclusive occupancy of the marital home, pending a refinancing or sale of the marital residence. It is a mistake not to include a time frame as to when either the refinancing or the sale of the marital home will occur. There must be some deadlines established. Make sure you keep your eye on this specific point. Any valuation of marital assets must be based upon substantial, competent evidence. This standard is particularly true and of utmost importance when you are valuing a marital business.
Considerations That Must be Made When Businesses are Impacted by a Divorce Action
If a business is going to be sold, and there is a requirement that the spouse sign a non-compete clause, he or she is required to value not only the value of the business, but the value of the non-compete clause as well. The value of a non-compete clause must be deducted from the actual business interest in divorce. By doing so you come up with a much more accurate valuation of the business. A non-compete clause is a sure signal that the value of the business includes goodwill.
Personal goodwill is not a marital asset, which is the reason why the value of the non-compete clause must be deducted from the value of the business itself.
What Is Dissipation?
Dissipation of marital assets is an integral aspect of equitable distribution. If one spouse decides to spend money in an irresponsible fashion, that may be considered dissipation of marital funds. In a situation like this, the full value of the account, prior to the dissipation, will be assigned to that particular spouse’s share of the equitable distribution. What exactly is dissipation of marital funds? Dissipation has to be much more than simply using money from a bank account after the separation, which was utilized to pay marital bills and to pay marital expenses.
Dissipation requires a reckless and intentional spending of the money, for one spouse’s own personal benefit, at a point in time when he or she knew that the marriage was experiencing a breakdown, and divorce was on the horizon. An interesting question arises when income that is generated from a non-marital business interest is used to support the family and pay marital expenses during the marriage. This can potentially turn the business into a marital asset.
Additionally, if a non-marital business interest appreciates as a result of active appreciation resulting from the efforts of a spouse, that appreciation attributed to those efforts becomes a marital asset.
As you can see from just a few of these asset example issues, the concept of equitable distribution can become increasingly complicated based upon the nature of the asset involved. I am a skilled divorce lawyer who can help you navigate these issues successfully in and out of court.
Contact Alan Robert Burton, Attorney at Law, Serving Palm Beach County and All of South Florida
Call or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your free initial consultation. Call (954) 229-1660 or my cell at (954) 295-9222. I maintain flexible office hours to accommodate your schedule and to discuss your family law issues.
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