How Equitable Property Distribution is Decided in a Divorce

When a couple gets divorced, assets that the couple possessed during the marriage are divided. Chapter 61.075 of the Florida Statutes states that possessions should be split using “equitable distribution,” meaning that possessions are divided fairly and reasonably. The goal of equitable distribution is for each spouse to receive a fair share of marital property—not simply a 50/50 split of everything the couple owned during the marriage. Learn more about how equitable distribution works below.

How Equitable Distribution Works

Couples will first need to determine the total value of their marital assets. Each spouse must submit financial documentation, such as the value of bank accounts, income information, real property, personal possessions, and businesses. Information about any marital debts acquired or paid for by both spouses during the marriage should also be included. Once the net value of the marriage is determined, the couple will work alongside their attorneys and the court to leave the marriage with equal value.

Factors That Determine Equitable Distribution

Here are some of the factors that go into deciding how assets are divided during divorce proceedings:

Marital Property 

Marital property is anything the couple purchased, obtained, or acquired during the marriage. Marital property can include a wide range of possessions, including: 

  • Sporting equipment 
  • Joint bank accounts
  • Real estate property
  • Cars 
  • Boats
  • Furniture
  • Gifts
  • Life insurance plans 
  • 401ks
  • Consumer debt

 Marital property can also include assets that belonged to one spouse but changed ownership or gained value during the marriage. All marital property is subject to equitable distribution. Non-marital property, on the other hand, belonged to one spouse before the marriage and was solely maintained by that person throughout it. Non-marital property is not subject to equitable distribution. 

Contributions to the Marriage

Another factor determining how property is distributed after filing for divorce is how much each spouse contributed to the marriage. These contributions can be of monetary value, such as salary or business income, or non-financial, such as maintaining the family home and educating children. Career interruptions to raise a family, earning potential, and overall economic status are also considered when dividing property. 

Marriage Length 

How long the couple was married is also a consideration when dividing property. Couples whose marriage spanned several decades will have more marital assets, and determining non-marital assets becomes more challenging. This is because the longer the marriage lasts, the more likely it is that both spouses maintained or contributed to the value of the asset. 

Family Status 

Property may be distributed differently if there are minor children involved. For instance, if one spouse would like to stay in the family home with dependent children, the home’s value would be considered when distributing property equally. 

Contact an Experienced Lake County Divorce Lawyer

Property division and child custody arrangements are two of the most challenging aspects of divorce proceedings. Have someone on your side to ensure your divorce is settled amicably and fairly. Contact the Remsen Family Law Firm at 352-243-1247 for a low-cost consultation.