We spend a large part of our lives finding the perfect house, the right vehicle, and the furniture we want. After years of building a life through hard work it can be scary to think of it all taken away in divorce. Therefore it is helpful to know how state laws impact which spouse gets what. Here is what you need to know about dividing your assets in Florida.
Are assets divided equally?
Assets are divided fairly, which can sometimes be equally. Florida has equitable distribution which means that a judge will decide how to divide property fairly rather than just dividing everything in half. This can mean that 1/3 of the property would go to the lower earning spouse and 2/3 would go to the higher earning one.
At the same time married couples will have to consider a lot more than how much each person is earning. One spouse's career or educational opportunities may have taken priority in the marriage, asking for sacrifice from the other. Or one parent did most of the childcare work. It is possible to build a strong case with the help of an attorney to show your efforts and sacrifices in order to get your fair share of the assets.
Can I keep my own personal property?
There are two types of property: marital and non-marital. Marital property is purchased or earned during the marriage with the help of marital assets. Non-marital (or separate) property is gained before marriage or on separate terms. Separate property will usually stay with the spouse who acquired it. For example if you inherited money from a family member then that money would stay with you.
What happens to my business?
Many people build businesses over several years and do not want to give up half of their earning potential in a divorce. What happens to the business will depend upon when and how the business was built. Many businesses created before marriage will go to the spouse who started it. But if the business was sustained by the marriage then the property could be considered community property and would get split. If the business was started during the marriage then it will most likely get split between you two. Now this does not necessarily mean your spouse would get to actually keep the business under their name but they may get other assets equally as valuable to make it fair.
What happens to the house?
Often times the parent who does the majority of the parenting will get the house. If one spouse bought the home with separate funds and they have no kids then that spouse would get to keep it. If there are no children involved then neither party has a legal right to get the house all on their own and will have to figure out a compromise.
Divorce can get messy especially when you are battling for important assets. Consider hiring an attorney to help you fight for what is worth keeping.