Regardless of the length of the marriage, the issue of property distribution resulting from divorce can be the source of frustration without some legal counsel. The state of Florida operates under the “equitable distribution” laws. This means that any property acquired during the marriage belongs to the spouse who earned it. Florida law requires that property distribution is equitable, although this doesn’t necessarily mean equal. Often the issue is taken care of with a marital settlement agreement. This isn’t always the case. A court may have to step in and help divide the couple’s assets and liabilities if problems arise with the marital agreement.
The judge will assume the division to be equal but there are certain factors which may need to be examined to justify an unequal distribution. The Florida statute 61.075 defines these relevant factors as follows:
The family law court will first determine what is marital property and what is non-marital property. Most often property and debt acquired before a marriage is non-marital and property, debt acquired during the marriage is classified as marital. Although there are some exceptions such as gifts and inheritance which could be classified as non-marital.
The primary goal of equitable distribution is to distribute and liquidate the property of the couple equitably at the time the final judgment is entered.
What exactly is marital property? How does the state of Florida define what is marital and what is non-marital? Marital property means that it belongs to both spouses. Below are examples:
Marital property is distributed before alimony is considered. Florida is a “no fault” jurisdiction. This means that a spouse can’t ask the court to punish a spouse for bad behavior by withholding assets.