Asset and Debt division in Florida is called Equitable Distribution. One of the basic concepts is a ‘starting point” for dividing assets and debts. The means a court will initially take a certain position and then fine tune that position by looking at numerous exceptions and fine points.
The basic starting points are:
- If an asset or debt was created during the marriage – it is divided in half
- If an asset or debt was created before the marriage – the whole thing goes to one spouse
- If an assets was inherited or received as a gift – the whole thing goes to that spouse
- If an asset was purchased during the marriage, and a large sum of pre-marital money was used, that spouse could claim a larger share of the asset.
More Property Division Into
In a Florida divorce, property division begins at 50/50. Division of debts begins at 50/50. But property division is also called equitable division in Florida. The key is the word “equitable.” This means the court is allowed to decide these issues in a way that brings fairness to the outcome. Sometimes this means the split will not be 50/50. A good example is in alimony situations. If one spouse does not have income earning capability, the court may compensate by awarding a larger proportion of assets. Click on each category above to learn more how the court treats certain types of assets.
Everything is in one persons name. Does that mean it is not marital property?
Probably not. Titles, deeds, or possession does not necessarily determine whether property is marital or non-marital. The Court can change ownership details with one stroke of the pen. What really matters is fairness and common sense. But something to keep in mind is that Florida property distribution law contains many exceptions. For example, if one spouse put significant pre-marital money into an asset – that may give them a larger share in the end. It is important to look at each asset at the time of the marriage and then again – at the time of marital separation.
Everything is in the name of my spouses parent. What now?
These are difficult situations. But if you can present adequate proof, the Court can protect you and redistribute property that is really marital. People typically place assets in a family member’s name to protect it in the future. When this is the situation you must make a decision on how much money/effort you will spend on that item – versus the value of a possible recovery.
Can property division be changed after the divorce is granted?
Almost never. Final judgments are exactly that in property division – Final. There are some limited exceptions – such as when a spouse hides an asset and the court never addressed it. But for the most part asset distribution is final and non-modifiable.
Selling the house in a divorce?
If neither spouse can afford the marital home, or no one wants the home, it would be helpful to sell the house while the divorce is in progress. You can either agree on division of proceeds or the proceeds can be held in an escrow account pending a final court decision. During the last recession a common problem is when the marital home is under water financially. That makes it difficult or impossible to sell. Both spouses may want to file for a bankruptcy and give up the home. Or one spouse may want it but get extra assets to compensate for an upside down home.
401K and Divorce:
There are special rules governing 401Ks, IRAs and divorce – how the accounts are divided and who gets what percentage. The basic rule is that any equity created during the marriage is marital propery and will be divided. Any investment value created during the marriage is treated the same. Click on the link in the above map to learn more.
Bankruptcy before Divorce:
There is nothing that prevents either spouse from filing for bankruptcy before divorce. But keep in mind, the courts can assign debt back to you. Also, the bankruptcy code prevents the avoidance of obligations owed your spouse resulting from a divorce.
Divorce can be the single most important event in your life. Make sure you gather lots of information so you can make informed decisions. Many people can benefit from the advice of a good, honest, loyal divorce attorney. The Divorce Center can provide a divorce attorney that can help you protect yourself. A lawyer is not an expense in a divorce case – they are an investment. We help clients in Hernando County, Pasco County, Pinellas County, and Hillsborough County. Our service area includes Orlando, Kissimmee, Tampa, Clearwater, Largo, New Port Richey, Brooksville, Dade City, and the New Tampa area. CONTACT US NOW or call 800-469-3486 Find us on Google