What Does “Equitable Distribution” Mean in a Florida Divorce?

If you are about to go through a divorce in the state of Florida, you probably have several questions about the division of assets and liabilities. First, it is important to understand that Florida operates under the laws of “equitable distribution,” which means “fair” division, but does not necessarily mean “equal” division. While it may be possible for the parties involved in the divorce to come to a mutually-acceptable agreement about how assets and liabilities will be divided, in many cases, when an agreement can’t be reached,  a judge will step in to divide assets and debt. Unfortunately, this often results in one or both of the parties being very dissatisfied. While it might be presumed that assets and liabilities will be split more or less equally, this is not always the case as the Florida divorce court will classify which property and debts are considered marital and which are non-marital.

This determination alone is something that can dramatically change your financial situation after a divorce. That is precisely why, if you are concerned about the financial outcome of your divorce, you should immediately consult an attorney at In Law We Trust, P.A. We specialize in representing men and are skilled at identifying what assets you have a right to and how much of the liabilities you may be responsible for.

Some Important Facts with Regard to Equitable Distribution

  • Marital property in Florida includes all assets and debts that either spouse has acquired during the marriage, unless there is a valid written agreement stating otherwise. It does not matter if the assets or debt are titled jointly or are only in one spouse’s name.
  • Property is considered separate or “non-marital,” and not subject to division in divorce if one spouse owned it before the marriage or acquired it during marriage as a gift (not including gifts from the other spouse) or acquired it by inheritance.
  • Marital assets can include money, property, gifts, retirement funds, pensions, annuities, profit sharing programs, insurance plans, and the value of any increase of non-marital assets.
  • “Co-mingling” of money can occur when marital funds are deposited into a premarital bank account or by paying a mortgage on a separate or non-marital property with marital earnings. These are just two examples of creating a situation that would make it very difficult to claim that an asset is separate or non-marital. Be well aware of how this might happen as the ramifications can drastically affect the proceeds of a settlement.
  • If your spouse opens a credit card account, you are still jointly responsible for the charges on that card; even if your name is not on it and even if you did not use the card.

Identifying marital and non-marital assets can be very complicated and usually requires the assistance of a skillful and accomplished attorney. Working with an experienced lawyer at In Law We Trust, P.A. in this first and very important step of a divorce can prove to be the difference in achieving an equitable settlement that protects your non-marital assets or being burdened with a settlement that leaves you with financial hardships for years to come.

Call The Family Law Experts Men Trust (813) 415-3510

In Law We Trust, P.A. is a premier firm of divorce lawyers representing men in family law proceedings. We are uniquely positioned to assist our clients with the challenges men face in Florida’s court system. Call us today and get the proper representation men need and deserve.