Division of Property in a Florida Divorce
Florida uses an equitable distribution of property model when dividing marital property, which is highly dependent on the judge’s discretion. That is why its crucial to hire Mack Law P.A. because we are familiar with the local judges hearing your case.
While there are many details that must be negotiated in a divorce settlement, property division may be one of the most complicated. Separating property that a couple has amassed over several years of marriage can be difficult, especially when someone has a strong tie to an item or property. Some couples may be able to civilly discuss the terms of their property division without use of the court system. However, there are some situations where the decision of who gets what in a divorce is left in the hands of a Florida court-appointed judge.
Equitable Division of Property
Florida uses an equitable distribution of property model when dividing up assets in a divorce case. The court-appointed judge will divide the property and assets based upon what he or she deems fair and just. Often times, the judge will consider several different factors involved in the case before making a final decision. According to Florida statutes, these factors include the following:
The income and expenses of both parties
The employment status of each party, as well as their education, skillset and earning potential
In what way each party contributed to the marriage, including taking care of the kids and supporting the spouse while he or she got an education or pursued a career
How long the marriage lasted
If there are any children involved in the divorce, the judge will often make a decision based on the best interest of the kids. This includes awarding the primary house to the custodial parent. The judge assigned to the case is prompted to make a decision based on what is fair. Yet, this may not always equate to be an equal division of property.
Marital vs. Separate Property
Before any property and assets can be divided, the court must determine which property is separate and which is considered marital property. Separate property is generally not eligible for distribution in a divorce case, and may remain with the original owner. Any property or assets that a spouse owned prior to the marriage may be considered separate property. A gift or inheritance that was given to either party before, during or after the marriage is also separate in most cases. If separate property or assets are co-mingled with marital property, then the property may be viewed as marital and therefore eligible for division. For example, an inheritance that is deposited into a joint bank account may become marital.
Marital property includes everything that was accumulated during the course of the marriage. This includes 401k plans, pensions, stocks, houses, cars, artwork, jewelry and even Social Security benefits.
Partner with an Attorney
When going through the divorce process, it may be best to partner with an attorney who understands how property division works. It can be hard to make vital decisions during such an emotional time, and an attorney like us may help to ensure you are getting what you deserve in the divorce settlement or at trial. Michael Mackhanlall, Esq., can be an asset for your case because he understands the deep financial issues facing your assets and your business assets and works closely with CPA’s. Additionally before law school, Michael was a certified financial commodities broker who held several financial licenses.