If you are going through a divorce or preparing for one, you may have a lot of questions about how to divide assets and liabilities. As with many aspects of a divorce, it may be possible for you to come to an agreement with your spouse. But if you cannot reach a compromise, a judge will determine how to divide marital property based on Florida laws.
You may assume that the outcome of property division is going to be more or less equal, but that is not always how it works. Here is an overview of how state law treats property division.
There are two main types of laws when it comes to distributing marital assets – equitable distribution and community property. Community property states divide marital assets right down the middle. There are only nine states that have community property laws, and Florida is not one of them.
Instead, Florida law seeks to have an equitable distribution of marital property. This essentially means that a judge will determine what type of split is most fair to both spouses. Sometimes, a 50/50 split seems unfair under equitable distribution laws.
A judge will consider numerous factors when determining a fair split, including the following:
- The length of your marriage
- Financial circumstances
- Contributions to the marriage
- Liabilities incurred by each spouse
The judge will also account for how difficult or easy it is to divide certain assets.
Only marital assets are subject to division during a divorce. Marital assets are anything you or your spouse acquired during your marriage. This includes any vested or nonvested funds, rights or benefits, such as retirement, pension or insurance plans.
After categorizing marital property, it is time to assign monetary values to each asset. You may need to get a professional appraisal for certain complex assets, such as retirement accounts or family businesses.