As an equitable distribution state, Florida courts seek to divide assets between spouses during a divorce fairly and amicably, not 50/50. How assets are divided during a divorce is defined in Florida Statute 61.075. To divide assets according to the statute’s guidelines, each spouse’s assets must be classified as marital or non-marital property. All marital property is subject to equitable distribution, so it is essential to understand what marital property is and how it is divided during a Florida divorce.
Marital property is any asset the couple acquires during marriage. Marital property can include assets like houses, cars, boats, retirement accounts, stocks, and life insurance plans. With Florida’s equitable distribution laws, assets are divided to ensure both couples receive a fair share of the marital property, regardless of who initially purchased or used the item during the marriage. In some circumstances, even property owned by one spouse outright could be considered marital property.
Marital property is not determined by who owned or purchased it. Instead, marital property is divided based on how much each spouse benefited from the asset.
Here are some examples of items that would be considered marital property:
- Cars, boats, and golf carts
- Spousal gifts
- Assets with an enhanced appreciation
- Life insurance plans
- IRA accounts
- 401k plans
- Joint bank accounts
- Stocks and bonds
- Credit card and other consumer debt
Co-mingled property is property owned by one spouse before marriage that changed ownership during the marriage, like joint checking accounts or property deeds. Co-mingled property also includes assets that one spouse owned but increased in value or generated income by the efforts of both spouses. These assets include business profits and real property value. Co-mingled property is considered partial marital property and is divided based on the value it attained.
Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that assets are divided between ex-spouses in a fair and reasonable way, regardless of who owned or used the asset during the marriage. In this type of distribution, spouses are not automatically given 50% of the marital property assets. Instead, a judge will determine what is considered fair and equal based on each individual case.
Factors that determine equitable distribution include:
- Marriage length
- Each spouse’s financial contributions
- Dependent children
- A spouse’s non-financial contributions to the household
- Career changes and earning potential to care for children or family members
- The economic status of each spouse
- Each spouse’s ability to support themselves
- Invested interest in an asset, like a business or family property.
Marital asset division can be a tricky situation. The Remsen Family Law Firm is dedicated to ensuring you receive your fair share of marital property and will fight to preserve your rights. We serve residents throughout Lake County, Florida. Call our office at 352-243-1247 for an evaluation to discuss your case.