Dividing assets in a divorce can be a very difficult process. Things become even more complex when there are significant assets involved or if the couple divorcing is at all hostile. Since all states have different laws regarding the division of assets, it’s important that you thoroughly understand your state’s specific laws. You may want to seek the expertise of a Jacksonville divorce attorney to guide you through Florida’s specific laws.
In a divorce, only marital assets and liabilities are divided. This refers to all property acquired during the marriage, regardless of ownership or title. One of the first things you should do together is complete a list of all marital assets. If you can do so amicably, it makes the entire process faster and easier. Items that must be on this list include your home, joint property such as land or vacation homes, any vehicles, valuables like jewelry and artwork, household belongings such as furniture and appliances, bank accounts, securities, and retirement plans.
In the state of Florida, the law calls for an equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities. A judge will set aside all non-marital property, also known as separate property. This is any property that each spouse previously owned and brought into the marriage. But be aware that this is not always so straight-forward, as some non-marital assets can become mixed with the marital property. An experienced Jacksonville divorce attorney can advise you on the technicalities of separate assets.
Equitable distribution of assets typically means an equal division of assets and debts. However, in some circumstances, a judge may feel that precisely “equal” is not the fairest way to divide the property. In such cases, there are some important factors that will be considered. According to Florida Statue 61.075, these include:
- The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of children and services as a homemaker.
- The economic circumstances of each party.
- The duration of the marriage.
- Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of the other spouse.
- The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or education of the other spouse.
- The desirability of retaining a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from claim or interference by the other party.
- The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage or any other party.
A Jacksonville divorce attorney can help you define which assets belong to the marital property, and monetary value will be assigned to each item by the couple or the court. When these values become too difficult to assign, you may choose to hire a professional appraiser. Additionally, complicated items such as retirement funds may require financial expertise from an accountant or actuary.
If the divorcing couple can work together with the assistance of their attorneys, a property division agreement can be easily issued and a simple divorce can be granted. For more information on how assets get divided in a divorce, contact the Florida family law experts at Parker & DuFresne. Our Jacksonville divorce attorneys can help make your divorce as smooth as possible.