What Factors Are Considered During Equitable Distribution?
If you live in Florida and are considering divorce, you probably have a lot of questions about the kinds of issues you’ll encounter during divorce, including how your assets will be divided. You may be asking yourself who gets what and which assets are even subject to division. The answers to these questions will depend on a family’s particular circumstances, but generally, in Florida, couples must divide their assets according to the equitable division standard. Read on to learn more about what this entails.
What is Equitable Distribution?
Equitable distribution is the legal standard used by courts to divide a couple’s property during divorce. Unlike community property states, where divorcing couples must split all of their assets 50/50, courts in equitable distribution states, like Florida, divide a couple’s assets based on what is deemed equitable, or fair. When deciding what is equitable, courts assess a predetermined set of factors put in place by Florida lawmakers. It’s important to note, however, that only marital assets, or property that was acquired during the marriage, will qualify for division. Separate assets, or property owned individually by each party before the marriage will usually remain in that person’s sole possession.
Each Spouse’s Contribution
There are a variety of factors that courts take into consideration when deciding how to divide a couple’s assets in an equitable manner, including each spouse’s contribution to the marriage. While this does include financial contributions, like income, benefits, and the purchase of certain assets, these are not the only things that qualify as contributions for property division purposes. For instance, even if one spouse earned most of a family’s income, the other spouse’s childcare duties would also be factored into a property settlement agreement. Similarly, the court will take into account whether one spouse gave up his or her job to support the other spouse’s career.
The Length of the Marriage
The duration of a couple’s marriage will also dictate how two parties will divide their assets upon divorce. For instance, if a marriage lasted for several decades, it’s more likely that a couple’s assets have become commingled and mixed, which means that in most cases, each spouse will lose a marital asset that he or she wants to keep. If, on the other hand, a marriage only lasted a few years, then there will generally be fewer marital assets for a couple to divide. In these cases, the division process will most likely involve each party retaining sole possession of his or her separate property.
Each Party’s Economic Circumstances
Courts can also consider each spouse’s economic circumstances when dividing marital assets, including whether one spouse is more in need of financial support. A court could, for instance, award a greater portion of marital assets to a lesser earning spouse, or a spouse who lacks the separate assets of the other.
Enlist the Help of an Experienced Property Division Lawyer
For help from a dedicated and compassionate Fort Lauderdale property division lawyer, call Sandra Bonfiglio, P.A. at 954-945-7591 today.