Division of marital assets and marital debts in a Florida divorce
Once the marital assets and debts are located, identified and valued, the Dade County divorce attorney must determine what he or she believes is a fair distributive share of the marital property including both the marital assets and debts. Florida's equitable distribution statute, Florida Statute 61.075, states that the starting presumption is that each spouse generally receives half of marital assets and half of the marital debts regardless of fault; however, the financial situation of each spouse is taken into account in adjusting the distribution. In other words, equitable distribution does not always mean equal distribution.
General allegations are made by the Florida divorce lawyers in the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage or Answer for the Florida court to apply the equitable distribution statute to divide assets and liabilities and any requests for unequal distribution are specifically stated in the pleadings and then substantiated during the discovery process with documentary evidence. It is impossible to predict with one hundred percent certainty what division of assets and debts the Florida Family Court Judges will award to either spouse. However, our Florida family law attorneys can use their years of experience in negotiating and trying equitable distribution cases to give our Florida divorce clients a realistic projection of their likely outcome.
As stated above, the Florida statute provides that distribution of marital assets and liabilities should be presumed equal, unless there is justification for unequal distribution based on other factors which may be relevant. One of those factors is the contributions to the marriage by each spouse. This can include financial contributions, but also includes care and education of the couple's children and work as a homemaker. The economic circumstances of each party are also considered (a spouse with greater financial need upon the dissolution of the marriage may receive more), as is the duration of the marriage. Whether the educational goals of either spouse have been interrupted and whether one spouse personally contributed to the other spouse's career or educational goals may affect the property division. Another factor is the relative contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of both the marital assets and the non-marital assets of the parties (this can refer to a number of things; one example would be increasing the value of a shared home by performing renovation work). The Florida family courts also consider the desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any minor children of the marriage. If there is an asset such as an interest in a business or corporations, the Florida courts will consider whether one spouse should be awarded the asset intact and free from interference by the other spouse. Finally, Florida's equitable distribution statute has a catch-all provision that allows courts to consider any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties generally without consideration of any adulterous behavior.
The Florida equitable distribution statute warns against the intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the Petition for Dissolution or within two years prior to the filing, and a Florida family court would likely account for this type of conduct in making a property award of the dissipated marital funds to the offending spouse and a greater financial award to the aggrieved spouse.
Contact our Miami Division of Marital Property Divorce Attorneys
At the Miami law firm of Vari & Associates, LLC, we assist our Florida divorce clients in obtaining what they deserve in equitable distribution through thorough preparation, effective negotiation skills and aggressive representation in court if necessary. We understand the factors that the court may look at when determining equitable distribution and we also work with forensic professionals when appropriate to properly value your assets. Our Florida divorce lawyers have extensive experience in these complex marital property division issues, and we will fight to ensure you receive your fair share.
Our lawyers accept family law cases in Miami-Dade County, Broward County and Monroe County. Our Miami divorce law office is open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am until 5:00 pm and weekends and evenings by appointment.
Consultations are available in person at our downtown Miami law office and at several meeting locations throughout Dade and Broward Counties including Lincoln Road in Miami Beach, Galiano Street in Coral Gables, West Country Club Drive in Aventura, Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood and in the Homestead area. Appointments are also available by telephone and via Skype internet video chat.
Contact our Miami property division attorneys at 305-329-2560 e-mail us to schedule an appointment to discuss your Dade County, Broward County or Monroe County property distribution issue.