Property Division in Divorce
Each state has its own rules regarding how property should be divided when a married couple divorces within that state. Florida statute 61.075 requires an equitable division of property in all Florida divorces. Though most people may take “equitable” to mean exactly equal, the law does not mean that all spouses will receive an equal share of property. Instead, equitable division simply requires a court to review several factors and determine how to divide property in the manner that is fairest to both parties involved.Separate Property v. Marital Property
Before any distribution is determined, first the court must differentiate a couple’s marital property from each individual spouse’s separate, or nonmarital, property. Separate property often consists of the following:
- Property a spouse owned prior to the marriage;
- Property acquired as a gift (from someone other than the other spouse) during the marriage;
- Any income earned from nonmarital property, as long as the income is not treated as a marital asset;
- Any proceeds from selling nonmarital property, items exchanged for nonmarital property, or items purchased with nonmarital assets; and
- Inheritances received during the marriage, as long as those assets are not used as marital property.
On the other hand, marital property includes any assets or debts acquired during the marriage, or any separate property that was converted into marital property by changing to a joint title. Separate and marital property can often become commingled, so differentiating the two is often more difficult than you may imagine. An experienced Boca Raton family law attorney can help ensure you rightfully keep all of your separate property in your divorce.Factors for Equitable Division
If spouses cannot agree on how they wish to divide their marital property fairly, a court will often have to intervene and make the decisions for them. Under the law, a court must take into consideration several factors in equitable property division, including some of the following:
- The duration of the marriage;
- The economic contributions of each spouse to the marriage;
- Non-economic contributions of each spouse;
- Custodial arrangements and whether the custodial parent should retain the family home;
- Whether either spouse put professional or educational opportunities on hold for the sake of the marriage and family;
- The divisibility of each asset; and
- If either spouse intentionally wasted or dissipated any marital assets in anticipation of or following filing of divorce.
These are only a few factors the court will consider, and you should always have an experienced lawyer arguing on your behalf in court.Contact a Family Law Attorney in Boca Raton or Ft. Lauderdale Today for Help
If you are facing divorce, you are likely concerned about holding on to your valued assets and property. An experienced Florida divorce lawyer can help make sure that the property division in your divorce is as fair as possible and will stand up for your rights to equitable division in court. Attorney Alan Burton has experience in all aspects of divorce and a wide variety of family law issues, so please do not hesitate to contact his office today for assistance.