In Florida, property division laws apply in divorce or legal separation cases. These laws ensure that property acquired during a marriage is divided fairly between the two parties.
Florida is known as an “equitable distribution” state, meaning that assets and liabilities are divided in a fair but not necessarily equal way.
Considerations in the property division process
When it comes to dividing property in Florida, several factors are considered. These include:
- Length of the marriage: Generally, the longer a couple has been married, the more likely it is that assets will be divided equally.
- Contributions of each spouse: This includes financial and non-financial contributions such as caring for children or maintaining the household.
- Earning capacity: If one spouse has a significantly higher earning capacity than the other, the court may consider this when dividing property.
- Age and health of each spouse: The court may consider the age and health of each spouse when determining property division, particularly if one spouse is in poor health or nearing retirement age.
- Marital misconduct: While Florida is a no-fault divorce state, if one spouse has engaged in misconduct such as infidelity or domestic violence, this may be considered when dividing property.
Marital vs. separate property
It’s important to note that only marital property is subject to division in Florida. This is the property that either spouse acquired during their marriage.
Separate property, on the other hand, is not subject to division. This includes property owned by one spouse before the marriage and any property acquired by one spouse during the marriage through inheritance or gift.
All assets and liabilities are first identified, and then the court will determine how to divide them fairly for both parties. Sometimes, spouses can agree on property division through negotiation or mediation. This can be a less contentious and more cost-effective way to divide property, as it avoids the need for a court to make decisions.
Knowing the legal process and your options will help you during this process.