Divorce can be stressful enough due to emotional factors, but when it comes to dividing property, this is where an already difficult situation often implodes. For this reason, understanding Florida’s process can help you know what to expect. In turn, this can reduce stress and conflict because it gives you time to think and prepare.
In the United States, there are two approaches to marital property division. In most states, including Florida, family laws follow an “equitable distribution” approach. If you are approaching the upcoming property division in your and your spouse’s ongoing divorce, the answers to these top three questions can help.
1. What is equitable distribution?
According to the law, the court splits property and assets that each spouse accumulates during the marriage equitably between partners. In Florida, the complete definition of “marital assets and liabilities” is comprehensive of all assets within the marriage, including real estate. There are only limited exceptions.
2. Does “equal” mean 50/50?
Although “equitable” sounds a bit like “equal,” it is important to note the distinction. By definition, it is more like “fair.” Because fairness is subjective, the court uses multiple factors to determine what is truly equitable. These can include contributions to child care and education, economic circumstances and marriage duration, as well as each spouse’s contributions in other ways.
3. How is equitable distribution different from community property?
For the nine states that follow community property approaches to the division of marital assets, the court divides everything equally. The only exception to this is when one or both spouses have separate assets to consider. Then, they follow a different process.
While parting ways and dividing assets is rarely easy, being prepared can significantly reduce stress. The information here can help you understand what to expect moving forward.