Fort Lauderdale Equitable Distribution Lawyer
Nobody wants to go through a complicated divorce or to deal with the division of assets. However, anyone in Florida who gets divorced will need to go through a process known as the equitable distribution of marital assets and debts. In some cases, spouses are able to negotiate a property settlement agreement, which means that the court will not have to make a decision about the division of marital property. However, in any case where the spouses cannot reach an agreement, the court will divide the property according to the theory of equitable distribution.
Do you have questions about dividing marital assets and liabilities in your divorce? A Fort Lauderdale equitable distribution lawyer can assist you.
What is Equitable Distribution in Fort Lauderdale?
Different states have their own laws about dividing property in a divorce. A majority of states are known as “equitable distribution” states, while the remaining states are known as “community property” states. Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means all marital property gets divided between the spouses in a divorce case based on what is fair to both parties. It is important to understand that “equitable” means fair, and not “equal.”
Accordingly, under Florida law, a divorce proceeding requires that all property owned by both spouses be classified as separate or marital property. Property includes both assets and debts. Only property classified as marital property will be subject to distribution. In general, separate property will include any property acquired prior to the date of the marriage, assets acquired through a third-party gift or inheritance, and assets or debts excluded from property division through a premarital agreement or postnuptial agreement.
How Fort Lauderdale Courts Make Equitable Distribution Decisions
When marital property is appropriately classified, the court can use many different statutory factors to decide what an equitable distribution of the marital property looks like, such as:
- Health and economic circumstances of both parties;
- Standard of living during the marriage;
- Either party’s contribution to the other spouse’s professional advancement or education;
- Either spouse’s contribution to child care and homemaking;
- Length of the marriage;
- Whether either party wants to keep the marital home; and
- Whether either party intentionally destroyed or dissipated marital assets prior to the divorce.
Issues that can make property division more complicated may include but are not limited to:
- Commingled property, or a situation where property with separate and marital characteristics has been mixed;
- Property that is difficult to appraise; and/or
- Concerns about one of the spouses hiding or failing to disclose property.
Contact a Fort Lauderdale Equitable Distribution Lawyer
Equitable distribution can be complicated, particularly when there are high value assets, concerns about hidden property, or commingled property. Even in the most straightforward equitable distribution case, it is still essential to have an experienced Fort Lauderdale equitable distribution lawyer on your side to make sure you are treated properly and receive a fair portion of the marital assets and liabilities. Contact The Law Offices of Caroline Olson, P.A. to learn more about how we can assist you.