How is Property Divided in Divorces?
Marital property is divided between spouses when they get a divorce. There are different ways to divide property in a divorce. Florida follows the equitable distribution method. Before you start panicking about losing your house, vehicles, and other possessions, keep reading to learn how equitable distribution works and how it will impact your divorce.
Understanding The Equitable Distribution of Property
If you and your spouse can’t agree on how your property should be divided during your divorce, the court will step in and apply the rules of equitable distribution. Judges will take into consideration various factors when determining how your marital assets should be distributed between you and your spouse.
It is crucial to note that equitable distribution does not necessarily mean your marital assets and debts will be distributed equally. The main goal of the court is to divide the marital property fairly according to factors relevant to you and your spouse’s specific situation.
How Equitable Distribution Works
Factors Judges Consider When Dividing Property
When the court steps in to resolve property division issues, it will consider various factors, such as:
- Whether minor children are involved
- Whether there’s an order of child support
- Whether there’s a prenuptial agreement
- Whether one of the spouses was the homemaker or stay-at-home parent
- How long the marriage lasted
- The couple’s standard of living
- Each spouse’s income and earning capacity
- Each spouse’s health and age
- The value of marital and separate property
- The liquidity potential of the marital assets
- A spouse’s contribution to the other’s training or career
- Each spouse’s contributions to the purchase of marital assets
Primarily, the judge must make certain that property will be distributed fairly, taking into account each spouse’s future requirements and past contributions.
Identifying and Dividing Marital Property
When judges divide a divorcing couple’s property, including their debts, they must first identify which assets must be divided. Judges will not divide any assets they determine to be separate property, which includes assets that each spouse bought or owned before getting married, unless they converted it to marital property.
Let’s say you had a savings account in your name before getting married, and you kept it separate from your spouse’s account. Your spouse also never contributed to that account. In this scenario, you get to keep that savings account for yourself. However, if you had a separate savings account and you commingled it with shared property in a joint savings account with your spouse, it would be considered marital property.
If you and your spouse have credit card bills, auto loans, mortgages, and other kinds of debt acquired during your marriage, these will also be divided. But bear in mind that even if the judge rules that your spouse must be responsible for a particular debt, creditors may still attempt to collect payment from you if that debt is jointly owned. Ideally, you should ask the judge to have the debt paid out of the marital property or refinanced only in your spouse’s name.
Get Legal Assistance From a Top West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney
Facing a divorce? Reach out to our West Palm Beach divorce attorney, Brian McMahon, and arrange your free consultation by calling 561-658-1789 or reaching us online.