The Finances of Divorce
Besides the emotional impact of separating from a partner, the process of divorce can require some serious financial wrangling. It is possible, however, for couples who learn the basics of how finances are split during divorce, to navigate the complex division process successfully and end up confident about their financial futures. An experienced Fort Lauderdale property division lawyer can play a crucial role in this process and help ensure that divorcing couples have the best possible chance of reaching a fair property settlement, so if you and your spouse are considering divorce, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our Fort Lauderdale legal team today for help.
How Florida Courts Divide Assets
Divorcing couples don’t always have to leave decisions about how their assets will be divided in the hands of a judge. Instead, couples can attempt to reach an agreement on this issue in an out-of-court setting and then present the mutual agreement to a judge for approval. However, when the terms of divorce are contested, a Florida family law judge will be tasked with splitting a couple’s assets based on the theory of equitable distribution. Rather than a 50/50 split, this standard requires couples to divide their assets in a way that is fair, which could result in a greater award of assets to one spouse.
Most spouses rarely just collect assets during their marriage, but also often acquire liabilities and debts. These liabilities, just like marital property, must also be divided upon divorce and typically, courts attempt to split responsibility for those debts in a fair way based on:
- Whose name is on the debt;
- Each party’s spending habits;
- Both spouses’ incomes;
- Whether one party recklessly incurred the debt; and
- Whether one party took steps to inhibit the couple’s ability to pay off the debt.
In cases where these factors weigh against a spouse, that individual will most likely be required to pay off a larger portion of the couple’s liabilities after divorce.
Another important finance-related aspect of divorce is spousal maintenance, or alimony awards, which are payments made to one spouse for a certain period of time after the finalization of a divorce. When making determinations about whether alimony is appropriate and if so, the amount and form the payments should take, courts look at a variety of factors, including both parties’ income, whether the couple shares children, and whether one party is attempting to further his or her career by paying for education or retraining.
Finally, couples with children will need to grapple with the issue of child support before their divorce can be finalized. Calculating how much child support a parent will need to pay is based on a few different amounts, including both parties’ incomes, the number of children being supported, and the monthly costs of healthcare and childcare.
The Legal Representation You Deserve
Although courts are directed to be fair in their finance-related decision making, doing so can be difficult without access to financial documentation, which is often the only way to give a court an accurate picture of a couple’s financial situation. Please call 954-945-7591 today to speak with experienced property division Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. about how to begin preparing your case.