How Property is Divided in a Florida Divorce

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The division of property in a divorce agreement is often the most contentious part of the divorce proceedings, especially if there are no children involved. Spouses always want to know who gets the house, car, boat, and other large items. There is no one-size-fits-all for dividing costly assets—every divorce is different—but there are general guidelines for determining which assets are to be divided and how judges go about making these determinations in contested divorces.

Difference Between Marital and Separate Property

In the early stages of a divorce, you must begin taking an inventory of every single item you and your spouse own. Every asset and piece of property is designated as either “marital” or “separate” property. Marital property is everything that was acquired by either you or your spouse during your marriage. In a marriage, it is assumed that nearly everything is shared, so most of the assets you inventory will be considered marital property.

However, some assets will be designated as separate property. Items that you acquired before your marriage and were used exclusively by you are likely to be considered separate property. Additionally, some things you acquire during your marriage may be considered separate property, such as gifts or inheritances given to you by blood relatives.

An important note regarding marital and separate property is that some assets can transform into marital property. For example, a bank account that you owned before you married your current spouse could become “commingled” if your spouse makes contributions to it.

What Does “Fair & Equitable” Mean?

If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement regarding division of all property, then it is generally up to the judge to come up with a decision. Some states mandate that, with few exceptions, property is to be equally divided, 50/50. Florida is not among these states; instead, Florida judges are guided by the “fair and equitable” legal doctrine. This means that judges have discretion when dividing marital property but must distribute assets in a fair and equitable manner. This does not always mean a clean 50/50 division.

Some of the factors a judge might take into consideration when dividing property during your divorce include:

Length of your marriage –

Needs of your children (especially when considering living situations) –

The earning potential of you and your spouse –

Contributions of both you and your spouse to the marital home –

Interruptions of educational or career opportunities during your marriage

Conclusion

If a judge has been tasked with dividing your marital property between you and your spouse, you need an attorney who understands the applicable laws so you are treated fairly with the divorce agreement. The Divorce and Mediation Law Firm would be honored to represent you in and out of family court. Call our firm at (954)-447-2580 for a confidential consultation today.

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The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.

Divorce & Mediation Law Firm | Cabanas Law Firm
18503 Pines Blvd, Suite 301
Pembroke Pines, FL 33029
(954) 447-2580
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Author

Sergio Cabanas, Esq. founded the Cabanas Law Firm in 2006 and provides Divorce and Family legal services, as well as Estate Planning, to ensure his clients have planned for their newly single life and are protected after their divorce. He began his career in law in 1992 as a prosecuting attorney at the Broward County State Attorney’s Office, then continued his litigation track as an insurance defense attorney defending medical professionals against medical malpractice claims and expanded into disability and life insurance claims. Sergio is a Certified Mediator registered in the Supreme Court of Florida and a frequent speaker in the community about the importance of Estate Planning to keep families out of probate court and to prepare essential instructions in the event of disability or incapacity.