Just as any other issue you might encounter while going through a divorce, if you and your spouse cannot come to a mutually fair agreement regarding the distribution of your assets and liabilities acquired during the length of your marriage, a court will establish these terms for you.
How will a court distribute the parties’ assets and liabilities between them? Will the court just flip a coin? It may feel like it, but in in Florida the distribution of assets and liabilities is governed by “equitable distribution.” Fla. Stat § 61.075.
Before a court can equitable divide assets and liabilities between the parties, it first must classify which assets and liabilities are considered marital and nonmarital. Then it will determine the monetary value of these assets and liabilities as of a date predetermined by the court. Finally, it will distribute the marital assets and liabilities in a fair and equitable manner, taking into consideration a number of factors established in Fla. Stat. §61.075(1):
- The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker.
- The economic circumstances of the parties.
- The duration of the marriage.
- Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
- The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
- The desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party.
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the non-marital assets of the parties.
- The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so, it is in the best interest of the child or that party, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence until the child is emancipated or until exclusive possession is otherwise terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. In making this determination, the court shall first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, whether other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home.
- The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.
- Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
Other factors that might be considered are the capacity of each party to support themselves after the divorce. Another factor to consider may be the difficulties a spouse can face when trying to go back in the workforce, especially if that spouse has missed career opportunities due to being a homemaker and or was raising children. In this type of situation, a spouse may be given a greater share of the marital assets.
If the marriage did not last long, a judge may be reluctant to grant one party monies that were mostly earned by the other party. In addition, awarded alimony and child support to one spouse, age, general health, and employment might be taken into consideration when assets and liabilities are being divided between the parties.
If you are filing for divorce or going through a divorce and have questions about how your assets and liabilities could be divided, Seff & Capizzi Law Group has the ability to assist with your situation. At Seff & Capizzi Law Group, we regularly assist clients and provide valuable information for those that need assistance in understanding how to approach this particular situation in their own lives. Call us at (954) 920-9220. We have over 40 years of experience and offer a free consultation. Click here for more information about our family law practice and how Seff & Capizzi can help.