Boca Raton Equitable Distribution Lawyer
When a Florida marriage ends in divorce, all assets and liabilities from the marriage will need to be distributed between the spouses according to a theory of “equitable distribution.” A majority of states are known as equitable distribution states, including Florida, because courts divide marital property in a manner that it determines to be fair or equitable to both parties. To be clear, equitable distribution does not mean an “equal” or 50/50 distribution. Instead, the court will look to a variety of statutory factors to determine what type of property distribution would be equitable given the particular circumstances of the spouses.
If you are thinking about divorce, it is important to work with an experienced Boca Raton equitable distribution lawyer who can help you to understand how your property will be classified and divided.
Classifying Marital and Separate Property in a Boca Raton Divorce
Under Florida’s equitable distribution law, in order for marital assets and liabilities to be distributed equitably between the spouses, property must first be classified either as separate (non-marital) or marital. Separate property is not divisible in a divorce, but marital property is divisible. In general, the following types of property will be classified as separate or non-marital property and will not be subject to distribution:
- Property acquired prior to the date of the marriage;
- Gifts received from third parties during the marriage;
- Inheritances received during the marriage; and
- Property specifically excluded through a valid premarital or postnuptial agreement.
Classifications of property can get complicated when property becomes “commingled,” which refers to property that is a mix of both separate and marital property. In some cases, courts can separate out elements of non-marital and marital property, but the process can be complex.
Factors for Equitable Distribution in Boca Raton, FL
When courts decide what an equitable distribution would look like, those courts can use any of the following statutory factors:
- Contribution of each spouse to the marriage, including contributions as a homemaker and as a stay-at-home parent providing child care and education;
- Economic circumstances of both spouses;
- Duration of the marriage;
- Interruption of either of the spouse’s personal careers or education opportunities;
- Contributions of one spouse to the other spouse’s personal career or educational opportunities;
- Either party’s desire to retain a particular asset;
- Each party’s contribution to the acquisition, enhancement, or improvement of assets;
- Each party’s contribution to incurring liabilities, or contributing to the loss of value of an asset;
- Desirability of either party to retain the marital home;
- Either party’s intentional dissipation or destruction of marital assets (after the filing of the divorce petition, or within the prior two years in anticipation of filing a divorce petition); and
- Any other factors the court decides are necessary to take into account for an equitable distribution of property.
Contact a Boca Raton Equitable Distribution Lawyer
If you are in the early stages of your divorce case, or if you have questions about filing for divorce and how equitable distribution will work, you should get in touch with a Boca Raton equitable distribution attorney as soon as you can. Contact The Law Offices of Caroline Olson, P.A. to learn more about how we can help with your divorce.