One of the most difficult and critical problems in any divorce is the separation of assets. Who keeps the house? Who keeps the car? Marriage is a financial institution, and the majority of married couples share a range of assets throughout their relationship, and it can be complicated trying to divide the property when they split up. Property disputes often lead to severely contentious divore, and it is key for any couple seeking a divorce in Florida to have a comprehensive understanding of the process. Read on to learn more about some key things you should know about property division during a Florida divorce. Remember, every situation is unique, and you should always consult with an experienced divorce attorney such as one from Swickle & Associates before making any major decisions.
Important Things To Know About Florida Property Division
Here are some key things to keep in mind about division of property in a Florida divorce:
- “Equitable Distribution”: Florida is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that a judge who is assigned to divide shared property that you and your spouse cannot agree on will aim to divide the property in a manner that they consider fair and equitable. The courts will divide the property in question in whatever way they deem necessary to maximize fairness.
- It’s up to the judge if you can’t agree: If you and your spouse are unable to settle amongst yourself when dividing property, then you are required to take it to court and have a judge decide how to split things up. This is why it’s typically advisable to go to mediation and have your attorneys involved; whether or not your best interest is to go to court is a decision that you need to make with your attorney.
- “Equal” and “equitable” are two different things: Remember that the concept of equitable distribution is not the same thing as equal, meaning that what the judge deems “equitable” will not always turn out to be an equal split. Although most courts will try to divide property as equally as possible, the judge may decide that it is most fair to divide the property unevenly and give more to one spouse than the other, depending on the circumstances. Each case is unique, so you should always consult with your lawyer and evaluate the situation comprehensively.
- Nonmarital vs. Marital property: What qualifies as marital and separate, nonmarital property will significantly impact division of your property. Nonmarital assets are typically what were obtained before you got married, or inherited after the marriage. Property acquired during the marriage will normally be deemed marital property.
- Difficult-to-divide assets will be accounted for by a judge: Assets that cannot be practically or reasonably divided will be allocated in a reasonable manner; i.e since a home cannot be reasonably shared, the judge may grant the home to the spouse who has primary custody of the children and require financial compensation to be granted to the other.
- Debts will be divided also: Property division includes the division of debts and liabilities. This means that if you owe $10,000 in credit card debt, the liability needs to be accounted for when dividing the property.
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If you’re starting the divorce process in Florida, you need a skilled divorce attorney on your side to protect your best interests. Call Swickle & Associates to schedule a consultation today.