When a couple gets divorced, many financial matters have to be settled. This is especially true for people with numerous assets. Because Florida is an equitable distribution state, assets are divided in a fair and equitable manner but not necessarily 50-50. A spouse who is divorcing in Florida should be aware of the factors that judges take into consideration when dividing assets.
While most assets are considered marital property, there are some exceptions. Gifts received from a third party, inheritances, pain and suffering payments awarded as part of a personal injury suit and property owned individually before the marriage are generally considered separate property. However, if funds are commingled or deeds are changed to add a spouse, any of these assets can become marital property.
All other assets, including 401(k) plans, IRAs, mutual funds, real estate, brokerage accounts, stock options, annuities and professional licenses acquired during the marriage are considered marital property. If a divorce case goes to trial, the judge uses a number of factors to attempt to make division of property equitable. Relevant factors include each spouse's earning potential, the couple's standard of living during the marriage, the needs of any children and the parent who will be caring for them, the number of years the couple were married and the contribution of each spouse to the earning power of the other. A judge may also use other relevant information to divide marital assets.
High-asset divorces can be complicated financial matters that require a team of professionals to ensure all assets are included in the settlement. Most complex asset divorce cases are settled out of court with the assistant of experienced divorce lawyer and divorce financial planner.
Source: HuffingtonPost Divorce, "Understanding how assets get divided in divorce", Jeff Landers, June 14, 2013