Selling Assets During Divorce
Florida is an equitable division state, which means that in the event of divorce, couples must divide their property in a way that is deemed equitable, or fair. These agreements, however, do not go into effect until a divorce is finalized, leaving many to wonder whether they can still sell assets while divorce proceedings have begun, but have not yet been terminated. The short answer to this question is yes; it is possible to sell marital assets before a divorce is finalized. There are, however, a number of steps that couples must take before a court will issue such an order, so if you and your spouse have decided to divorce and you have questions about the fate of your marital assets, it is important to contact an experienced Fort Lauderdale property division lawyer who can advise you.
Interim Partial Distribution Orders
The act of selling marital property before a divorce is finalized is known as interim partial distribution. A couple can only go through with this type of transaction if a court finds that there is good cause for a partial distribution of an asset while a divorce is still pending. Interim orders can be entered any time after the date of the initial divorce filing, as long as the divorce has not yet been finalized. It’s also important to note that while interim partial distribution orders are often sought to dispose of marital assets, these types of orders can also be applied to separate property as well, and can even be used to pay off or reconfigure debt.
Filing a Request for Partial Distribution
A court will only issue this kind of order if one of the parties files a petition with the court and can demonstrate that there is good cause for dispersing the asset before the finalization of the divorce. Under Florida law, a finding of good cause can only be made if the petitioner can provide proof that extraordinary circumstances require the early dispersal of an asset. This in turn, will require the filing of a sworn motion that establishes the specific factual basis for the request.
Even if a petitioner can satisfy these requirements, a court will not approve the request if there is any evidence that the partial distribution of the assets in question will be unjust or inequitable to either party’s later claim for financial support.
Final Property Settlements
Interim partial asset distribution orders only apply to the assets specifically requested in the petition, so any remaining property will still need to be equitably divided and then distributed upon finalization of the divorce. When making these later determinations and allocating the remainder of a couple’s property, judges are directed to take the earlier partial distribution into account.
Set Up a Free Case Review Today
If you have questions about what you can do with your property before your divorce is finalized, please reach out to experienced Florida property division lawyer Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. by calling our office at 954-945-7591, or by sending us an online message.