Equitable distribution refers to the way a judge divides your assets when you pursue a divorce. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal distribution.
Therefore, before you file for divorce in Florida or respond to your spouse’s filing, you should understand what assets are subject to equitable distribution.
Marital vs nonmarital assets
Marital assets include every asset you have acquired since you got married. This includes your vehicles, home, retirement contributions, bank balances and investments. If you earned it or purchased it after you got married, it is a marital asset.
In general, nonmarital assets are those you accrued before you got married. You may have contributed to retirement or investment accounts or purchased assets prior to your marriage. These assets are not subject to equitable distribution.
Factors that impact distribution
You and your spouse may have discrepancies that make equitable distribution unequal, such as higher education and employability level. Judges also consider financial need, length of the marriage, the age and health of the parties, childcare costs, tax consequences, future medical costs, contributions to the other party’s education and your current standard of living.
Asset titles in one name
In many cases, your home or vehicle titles may have your name or that of your spouse. If you purchased these assets during your marriage, they are marital property no matter whose name is on the title. If you want to keep the asset, you will likely have to pay your spouse half of its value. The same is true for bills. If you have bills in your name only, a judge will likely divide them between you and your spouse.
Some properties are exempt from distribution, including inheritances and gifts from third parties. Learn about exemptions before filing your paperwork.