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How Are Assets Divided In A Divorce In Florida?

Divorces are never easy, but when property and assets are involved, things can get very confusing. One of the most common questions we get asked by our divorce clients is about how their assets will be divided.

The idea that all money, accounts, property, and other assets acquired during the marriage will be split 50/50 is outdated. While the 50/50 split may be where judges begin when deciding how to divide assets, splitting right down the middle isn’t always the most equitable distribution plan.

Marital vs. Nonmarital Property

Only assets that are deemed marital may be divided in a divorce here in Florida. The first thing that must be decided is which properties and assets are considered marital, and which are not. Any property or assets gained before the marriage are usually considered nonmarital unless both spouses contributed to an increase in value of the asset during the marriage. For example, if a man owned a bank account from before he was married and throughout the entire marriage, he was the only one who made deposits to the account, then that asset is considered nonmarital. However, if his new wife makes deposits to the account during the marriage, the account then becomes a marital asset.

However, some assets aren’t so cut and dry. For example, if a woman owned her own business valued at $50,000 before getting married, and that same business is valued at $90,000 during the divorce, then the husband may be entitled to part of the $40,000 increase in the business’ valuation.

Once each asset is deemed marital or nonmarital, a valuation will be determined for the assets. If the spouses cannot agree on the asset’s value, outside professionals, such as appraisers, may need to be hired for this process.

Equitable Distribution

As mentioned before, the objective of dividing marital assets is equitable distribution. In a perfect world where the divorcing spouses have exactly the same assets, earn identical salaries, and live in matching socioeconomic situations, a 50/50 split of assets seems reasonable. However, we do not live in a perfect world. Just a few of the reasons a judge may decide to break from the 50/50 guidelines are:

  • Infidelity
  • Disparities in economic circumstances
  • One spouse’s contributions to the other spouse’s education or career
  • Debts incurred by one spouse
  • Intentional sale or destruction of assets due to divorce

Judges in Florida are allowed to use their own judgment when determining how to divide marital assets so that both parties leave the marriage on a similar footing. This is especially important when children are involved, and judges take extra care not to disrupt children’s lives as much as possible.

Asset Division Guidance and Assistance in Tampa Bay

If you are facing a divorce here in Florida and need help to navigate the process, including the division of assets, contact the experienced legal team here at Caveda Law Firm in Tampa at (813) 463-0800 or online today!