One of the main issues that require resolution in a dissolution of marriage proceeding is the distribution of assets and liabilities among the spouses. Florida law requires that the distribution be done “equitably.” Couples may decide how to divide their property either by agreement or with the guidance of a court in dissolution of marriage proceedings.
Types of assets and liabilities eligible for distribution
Florida law distinguishes between “marital” and “non-marital” assets and liabilities. Marital assets and liabilities include all those that were acquired during the marriage, either jointly by the couple or by an individual spouse. Assets may include:
- Real estate
- Retirement plans (pension or 401K)
- Stocks and bonds
- Bank accounts
Liabilities include the couple’s debts, such as mortgages, credit card debt, vehicle and other loans. Marital property is considered jointly owned by the couple and is thus subject to equitable division upon divorce.
Factors evaluated when equitably dividing property
Florida law requires courts to consider a number of factors when deciding how to equitably divide property in dissolution of marriage proceedings, including:
- Spousal contribution to the marriage
- Each spouse’s economic circumstances
- Marriage duration
- Interruptions in educational or career opportunities of either spouse
- Contributions by one spouse to the career or educational opportunities of the other spouse
- Desirability of keeping an asset whole and intact
- Contributions by either spouse to increasing income or debts
- Need to retain the marital home as a residence for any minor children
- Intentional destruction or depletion of marital assets in the two-year period leading up to or following the divorce filing
An inadequate division of property can place your future economic stability at risk — but a skilled Florida property division attorney can aggressively protect your interests.