Understanding Property Division Laws in Florida
In our last post, we discussed some of the challenges that can arise when two people get divorced and need to divide up their assets. We also noted in post that this can be especially complicated for couples who have significant or complex assets because it can be difficult to determine who owns what and how much certain assets and properties are actually worth.
However, property division has the potential to be contentious and confusing for all couples across Florida, regardless of how much money or debt is at stake. People can be afraid of losing everything or only walking away with 50 percent of the marital estate even though their contributions to the marriage were considerably higher. In order to allay some of these fears, we want to take a step back and look at how property is divided in Florida.
In this state, we follow equitable distribution laws. It is important to understand that equitable distribution does not mean “equal distribution.” Property is not going to just be divided in half and distributed between divorcing spouses. Rather, the courts will take a number of factors into consideration and then decide how to fairly split the assets.
Courts will consider details like how long a couple was married, the economic and non-economic contributions of each person to the marriage, individual incomes and earning potentials, as well as the value of significant assets like a family home. Based on this and other information, the court will make a decision on how to fairly split up assets.
Many people get nervous and scared at the thought of such a decision being made by a judge, but it doesn’t have to be left up to a judge. If two people are willing and able, they may be able to resolve property division disputes through mediation or collaboration. This can help each person have a little more control over their divorce settlement.
Whether you want to resolve these issues yourselves or through the court, you will want to work with your lawyer to assess your situation and determine what is in your best interests.