Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital property is divided in a manner that is fair and equitable to both spouses during a divorce. This differs from a community property state where property is owned, and therefore divided, 50/50. A judge will also determine how easy an asset will be to divide when determining equitable distribution.
Factors the Court Will Consider When Dividing Property
Factors the court will consider when determining equitable distribution of marital property include but are not limited to the following:
- Duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s economic situation
- Each spouse’s contribution to career or education opportunities (to increase the earning potential of the other spouse)
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage
- History of any wrongful conduct during the marriage
- Intentional dissipation of marital assets
- Any contributions to improving marital or nonmarital assets
What Is Considered Marital Property?
During a divorce, a couple will need to determine which of their assets are martial as separate assets are not subject to division. Martial assets include all items, property, and income
- Bank accounts
- Real estate
- Retirement accounts
- IRAs, pensions, 401(k)s
- Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
- Artwork and other collectible items
What Is Considered Separate Property?
Property is separate, also known as nonmarital, if a spouse owned it before marriage, acquired it during marriage as a gift (not including gifts from the other spouse), or acquired it by inheritance. Separate property may also include:
- Income from separate property
- Separate assets and debts clearly defined in a prenuptial agreement
- Items purchased with or exchanged for separate property
What Happens if Separate Property Increases in Value?
If either or both spouses contribute to separate property during the marriage, leading to an increase in the value of such property, the increase itself is considered marital property. As such, this increase will need to be divided equitably between the spouses.
You also have the option of turning separate property into marital property by changing the title from your name to both you and your spouse’s names in the event you want to make a gift of the property.
How Is Commingled Property Divided?
Sometimes marital and nonmarital property can cross and become mixed together or commingled. This can happen when a couple combines their income and property before getting married. It could also happen if one spouse makes deposits to their spouse’s bank account.
In the event of a divorce, a judge will determine which property belongs to whom. The judge will determine if any of the commingled property was a gift to the marriage or whether the original owner of the property will need to be compensated for part or all the property.
Who Gets the House in a Florida Divorce?
While the court will not divide a martial home in half, it will award one spouse with the home in exchange for buying out the other spouse’s share. This is just one option though. The court may also order the couple to sell the home and split the proceeds from the sale. Additionally, a judge may also award one spouse with the right to live in the home on a temporary basis.
The court will take the children into consideration as well. It is more likely for the custodial parent to be given the house in a divorce as the house will provide a stable and nurturing living environment for the children. The court also considers moving the children around too much to be detrimental to their development, so it may award the custodial parent with the house for this reason.