If you are getting a divorce, it can be difficult for you and your spouse to sort through all of the assets you have accumulated over the years and determine who gets what. Here are a few things that may impact the property division process in your divorce.
Preparing for the possibility of divorce when you are newly engaged or married may not be romantic but is often a smart decision. If you and your ex-spouse signed a prenuptial agreement before you got married or a postnuptial agreement during your marriage, it likely specified how your property would be distributed if you ever got divorced.
If the court determines that your agreement is valid and enforceable, it will likely adhere to the terms of the agreement when dividing up your property in the divorce. If there is no valid agreement, Florida courts will apply equitable distribution laws during the property division process.
Separate vs. marital assets
When dividing up the property in a divorce, the first step is typically determining which property should be classified as separate and which property should be classified as marital. Generally, only marital property can be divided between divorcing spouses.
- Separate: Asset owned/purchased by one spouse prior to the marriage or asset given solely to one spouse during the marriage (e.g., inheritance).
- Marital: Property acquired during the marriage or purchased with marital funds.
If a piece of property starts out as separate property but marital funds are used to make payments on the item or make improvements to the item, it may be considered marital property.
Equitable distribution differs from equal distribution
In Florida and other states that follow equitable distribution laws for property division, courts will divide the marital property “fairly and equitably” between the divorcing spouses. However, it is important to remember that this does not mean that each spouse will get exactly 50% of the marital assets. Courts will consider several factors when determining how to equitably divide the property, including each spouse’s income and contributions made to the marital property.
Dividing up property in a divorce is not easy. A family law attorney in your area can help you navigate the property division process and help you walk away from your marriage with the items that mean the most to you.