Dividing property in a divorce can be a tricky and stressful process, especially when the couple has been married for a long time. In the state of Florida there are several factors that are considered while deciding how to divined property in the fairest way. Florida law requires judges to divide property as equally as possible.
Marital versus non-marital property
In a divorce, only marital property is divided among the spouses. Marital property is everything the spouses acquired, both separately and together, during the time they were married. It also includes all vested or non-vested benefits, rights or funds either spouse accrues during the marriage, including retirement, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, deferred compensation, and insurance plans and programs.
Non-marital property is property owned before the spouses got married, or if they acquired it during the marriage as a gift or as inheritance. If separate property increases in value because of efforts made by both of the spouses during the marriage, the judge will divide the increased value between them both. Some couples do combine all of their property into marital property and just split it evenly.
Assessing the value of the marital assets
After determining all of the marital property, the court or the couple will assign monetary value to all of the assets. This process can also require the help of an appraiser and a financial professional.
Dividing the property in a divorce
Because the state of Florida strives to divide property equally and fairly in a divorce, the following factors are taken into consideration by the court when dividing property:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s economic circumstances
- Any interruption in either spouse’s career or educational opportunities
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including contributions as a homemaker or parent
- Either spouse’s contribution to the career or educational opportunities of the other spouse
- Each spouse’s contribution to acquiring or increasing income
- Each spouse’s contribution to improving marital or non-marital assets
- Liabilities incurred by either spouse, whether affecting marital or non-marital assets, and
- Either spouse’s intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition for divorce or within 2 years prior to filing.
Spouses can divide the property or sell their assets and divide the money. They may also continue owning property together if they choose. Couples must also divide any debt they acquired over the marriage.