Dividing Assets in a Florida Divorce – A Gainesville, Florida Divorce Lawyer Explains
- Inventory all assets
- Marital assets are assets obtained during the marriage, regardless of how they are titled
- Non-marital assets are assets that were obtained before the marriage or solely through inheritance or gift from non-spouse
A Gainesville, Florida divorce lawyer explains how assets are divided during the Florida divorce process. It’s important to remember this post is general information and it is best to speak with a Gainesville, Florida divorce lawyer you trust to fully understand your options when dealing with divorce and property division.
In a Florida divorce, many things will happen. Child custody, a parenting plan, alimony, child support, and asset division are all aspects that you may face during the divorce process. This post will examine how assets are divided in a Florida divorce based on the divorce laws in Florida.
The first part of the process is determining what assets each party has in their possession. Florida divorce laws require each party to file a Financial Affidavit that details their respective incomes, expenses, assets and debts. Even if you don’t think the other party is entitled to the asset, you still have to list it on your Financial Affidavit.
Next, it must be determined whether the assets and debts are marital or non-martial in nature. Florida Statute 61.075 describes marital assets as:
- Assets acquired and liabilities incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by them.
- The enhancement in value and appreciation of nonmarital assets resulting either from the efforts of either party during the marriage or from the contribution to or expenditure thereon of marital funds or other forms of marital assets, or both.
- Interspousal gifts during the marriage.
- All vested and nonvested benefits, rights, and funds accrued during the marriage in retirement, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, deferred compensation, and insurance plans and programs.
In short terms, pretty much any asset obtained during the marriage will be considered a marital asset subject to equitable distribution, including retirement plans and assets titled solely in only one party’s name.
Additionally, property such as the home that is owned by the parties jointly (as husband and wife) is considered a marital asset unless the other party can prove otherwise.
Florida statute 61.075 also defines a non-marital asset as follows:
- Assets acquired and liabilities incurred by either party prior to the marriage, and assets acquired and liabilities incurred in exchange for such assets and liabilities;
- Assets acquired separately by either party by noninterspousal gift, bequest, devise, or descent, and assets acquired in exchange for such assets;
- All income derived from nonmarital assets during the marriage unless the income was treated, used, or relied upon by the parties as a marital asset;
- Assets and liabilities excluded from marital assets and liabilities by valid written agreement of the parties, and assets acquired and liabilities incurred in exchange for such assets and liabilities; and
- Any liability incurred by forgery or unauthorized signature of one spouse signing the name of the other spouse. Any such liability shall be a nonmarital liability only of the party having committed the forgery or having affixed the unauthorized signature. In determining an award of attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to s. 61.16, the court may consider forgery or an unauthorized signature by a party and may make a separate award for attorney’s fees and costs occasioned by the forgery or unauthorized signature. This subparagraph does not apply to any forged or unauthorized signature that was subsequently ratified by the other spouse.
Now, after reading all of that, you’re probably asking – What’s the point? The point is that assets that are marital are likely going to be divided 50/50 between the parties. Assets that are non-marital in nature will go directly to the party who owns them.
However, if you attend mediation prior to going to trial, the parties can agree to a different distribution of marital assets, which is referred to as unequal equitable distribution. Keep an eye for the next post, when a Gainesville, Florida divorce lawyer explains unequal equitable distribution during divorce.