How Does A Florida Divorce Affect Asset Division
Are you thinking of hiring a divorce lawyer to dissolve your marriage in Fort Pierce? Then you must be prepared for a lengthy legal process. You must also be wondering how does a Florida divorce affect asset division. The dissolution can be completed without a trial if your spouse and you agree on how to split your assets and your responsibilities towards your children. However, such a scenario seldom happens and most couples indulge in bitter court battles to divide property and win control of valuable assets.
It will be better to have information on the subject so that you are prepared in advance for the future. It will also be helpful in saving valuable resources like time and money. In this article, we are discussing how the law governs the division of property in Florida divorces.
1. Retention Of Non-marital Assets
The non-marital property comprises of all the assets which have not been acquired or owned jointly by the couple. All the assets that were obtained before the marriage as individuals are treated as separate and will not be considered for division. This means that any property you acquired while before your present marriage can be retained by you. Any asset which came into your possession by way of inheritance or in the form of a non-interspousal gift will also be considered as your property.
For instance, your grandfather leaves you a house in his will. Then your spouse cannot ask the court to divide it as the house will be considered as separate property. Similarly, if you earned any rental income from the house and kept it separate from your marital property or joint bank accounts with your partner, then also you enjoy exclusive rights over the earnings. Many couples also exclude assets from division by way of pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreements.
2. Division of Marital Property
The divorce law in the state of Florida dictates that an equitable or fair division of marital assets take place between the partners. Top divorce attorneys in Florida say that equitable generally means equal but the division is left to the discretion of the judge. If the judge feels that a precise half-and-half split will be unfair, she can devise another fair formula to divide the property. All the assets that were acquired during the period of the marriage are classified as marital property.
It is immaterial if the things were purchased by one or both partners. Let’s say you bought a car with your salary under your won name but gifted it to your wife. Under Florida law, the car will be a part of the marital property and you cannot claim exclusive ownership over the automobile.
3. Important Factors Considered By The Court For Equitable Property Division
In order to fully understand how does a Florida divorce affect asset division, you must know the important factors which a court considers for the purpose. The court takes into consideration each partner’s economic condition and the length of the couple’s marriage. It also sees whether the severance will hinder either person’s career or educational opportunities. Each partner’s contribution to the relationship including contributions made as a parent and homemaker also carry a lot of weight.
The court also assesses the contribution of each spouse in generating or increasing the income. It also notes the contributions made by one partner in furthering another’s career or education. One of the most important factors that you must know about is that the court checks for willful destruction of property by the spouses. The court takes a serious view if it finds that any partner indulged in intentional depletion or destruction of assets after the filing of the divorce case as well as during 2 years prior to filing the case.
4. Difficulty In Dividing An Asset
Another aspect that judges consider is how difficult it is to divide an asset. For instance, the marital home owned by the duo cannot be physically split up. In most cases, courts order the couple to sell the house and divide the earnings.
In cases, where the home is going to one partner, a judge can order the other partner to stay in the house for a temporary period. Similarly, if one of the spouses starts a business during the wedding, it will be treated as a marital asset. However, more often than not a court will give the complete business to the spouse who runs it. The other partner will be compensated by money or any other piece of property.
5. Increase In The Value Of Non-marital Property
Most people are unaware that any increase in the value of non-marital assets during the wedding is treated as a marital asset. Keep in mind that only the enhancement is considered as marital property. It does not matter whether the efforts of one or both the partners helped in boosting the value. Let’s say you owned a business before you got married and it’s worth increased during the marriage. Then the original value of the business will be treated as separate property while the increase in the value will be considered as a marital asset.
The amount equivalent to this increase in value must be shared by both the partners. You must also know that any property held as “tenants by the entireties” by the couple will be regarded as a marital asset. It is immaterial whether the property was obtained by one or both the partners or whether it was acquired before or after the marriage.
You must now be well prepared for your meeting with that divorce attorney in Fort Pierce. All this information about how does a Florida divorce affect asset division will have helped you understand how you can split property with your spouse.