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Division of Property in Marital Dissolution in Florida

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In the state of Florida, the first step in dividing property during a dissolution of marriage is to identify and separate out each spouse’s non-marital assets and liabilities. Once this is done, the court will have a clear view of the assets and liabilities which are to be divided between the couple. As a starting point, there is a presumption that the division should be equal between the parties. However, there are certain justifications for unequal distribution of the assets and liabilities.

Factors to Consider When Considering an Unequal Distribution of Assets

There are a number of factors that can be considered under Florida law, which, alone or in combination, may justify an unequal distribution of either the assets or the liabilities of the couple. Factors include the following:

  • The duration of the marriage;
  • The economic circumstances of each of the parties;
  • What contributions each spouse made to the marriage, which can include the education and care of the children, and the contributions a homemaker provides to the household;
  • Whether either party sacrificed or put on hold any educational opportunities or their personal career;
  • Any contributions one spouse made to the personal career or educational opportunities of the other;
  • The contributions of each party regarding income production, acquisition, or enhancement;
  • The intentional destruction, depletion, waste, or dissipation of any marital assets up to two years before filing for marital dissolution, as well as any similar conduct after the petition has been filed;
  • The desirability of retaining an asset as a single person, without interference or claim by the other party – typically this is for an interest in a professional practice, business, or corporation;
  • Considerations of any dependent children and whether it would be in the best interests of the child to retain the marital home as a residence for the children;
  • The feasibility of financially maintaining the home until the child is of age;
  • Other equities that might be served by allowing one person exclusive possession and use of the marital home;
  • Any other factors necessary to consider to “do equity and justice between the parties.”

What the Court Must Do If The Division of Assets is Contested

If the decisions about division of assets and liabilities is left to the court, the court is required to issue a written finding of fact, which includes the following:

  • A finding of the ownership interests and non-marital assets;
  • A finding of the marital assets;
  • Individual valuation of assets deemed significant;
  • Identification of which party is entitled to which assets;
  • Identification of liabilities;
  • Identification of which party is responsible for each liability;
  • Any other findings, as it may be necessary given the circumstances, to explain to the parties, as well as a reviewing court on appeal, the rationale for the decision.

What To Do If You Are Considering Divorce

Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. is an experienced attorney, with a practice that includes marital dissolution, and other areas of family law. Contact us in Fort Lauderdale today to see how we can assist you in ensuring that you are receiving a fair property settlement.

Resource:

leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0000-0099/0061/Sections/0061.075.html

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