Equitable Distribution Of Marital Assets & Debts
During a marriage, it is common for couples to acquire property, such as home furniture, with little to no concern about how the property and/or assets will be distributed — or which spouse will receive the furniture — in a divorce settlement. It is common for people to accumulate vast quantities of personal property during the marriage without making plans for equitable distribution, should the marriage end in divorce. Distributing marital assets in divorce can be a tedious process, but with the help of an experienced family law attorney with Tobaygo Law in Sarasota, FL, you can rest assured that your assets and property will be protected during divorce.
Equitable Distribution Of Marital Property & Assets In Florida
Florida laws recognize equitable distribution in divorce. According to Florida Statute § 61.075, “The court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors.” In other words, unless there is a legal document which prevents the equal distribution of marital assets in the divorce, such as a prenuptial agreement, couples are legally owed an even distribution of property and assets. For more information about marital distribution in Florida, contact our divorce lawyers.
At the beginning of equitable distribution, Florida courts classify each asset and property as either marital in nature or non-marital in nature. The court will distribute any non-marital assets to the appropriate spouse or spouses. All assets accumulated during the marriage by either party are usually considered “marital” in nature. As such, they are subject to division by the court during the divorce. Asset and property division exceptions include inherited assets, or other pre-marital assets that have passively increased in value or by market appreciation alone — including stock portfolios, to which nothing has been added during the marriage, or an inheritance that has been left in a separate account accumulating interest for the duration of the marriage. In certain cases, assets may be considered both partially marital and partially non-marital in nature. If both spouses contributed financial assets to increase the value of the asset(s) in question, the accumulated profit will likely be divided equitably between the spouses.
How Is Marital Debt Distributed?
A frequently overlooked aspect of the distribution by many divorcing spouses is the division and allocation of debts acquired during the marriage. There are a number of different debts that divorcing spouses accumulate during the marriage, which may include credit card statement; mortgages; car payments; loans; owed taxes; past-due utility bills; personal loans from loved ones; and even unpaid fines. The concern is that all debt accumulated by the parties during the marriage is also marital, meaning it should be divided equally. Without the application of the factors for unequal distribution, the court may likely order the parties to divide debts equally. This can be unfair when considering the manner in which the debt was accumulated. If the debt is acquired on the sole benefit of one spouse’s entertainment, he or she should have sole responsibility for that debt. The experienced Sarasota attorneys with our firm can help you understand debt accumulation and the debt for which you may be responsible.
Which Factors Determine The Distribution Of Marital Assets?
Family courts within the State of Florida consider a wide range of different factors, which include but are not limited to the following factors when determining the distribution and/or division of assets and debts. For more information about the following items or to discuss your case, schedule a consultation with our family law firm.
- The contribution to the marriage by each spouse
- The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage
- The duration of the marriage — long-term, moderate-term, and short-term marriage lengths
- The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion or destruction of marital assets after filing the petition
- Career and/or educational contributions made by one spouse to another spouse
- The economic circumstances of each spouse
- The desirability of retaining any asset, intact and free from claim or interference by the other party
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income
- Interruption to personal careers or educational opportunities of either party
- Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties
How Sarasota Divorce Attorneys Can Help
The goal for each spouse regarding the distribution of assets and debts during divorce is unique to each marriage. No matter how complex the divorce may be, consulting knowledgeable and experienced Sarasota divorce lawyers can provide you with the representation required to ensure that assets and property are equitably distributed. Our attorneys have numerous years of experience in family law mediation as well as litigation and they are committed to helping each client throughout each step of the asset and debt distribution process. Schedule a consultation today.