Divorce is a difficult process for most people, and perhaps the most contentious part is the division of the assets. If a couple is unable to reach a satisfactory agreement themselves, Florida law determines which property they must split.
Divorcing couples should understand the difference between marital and separate property and how courts will divide their assets.
What is marital property?
Marital property refers to the assets that either spouse acquires during the marriage. Separate property, on the other hand, is an asset that the individuals owned before their nuptials. Typically, separate property is not divided during a divorce. However, if these assets increase in value during the marriage, both spouses may have a claim on that additional value.
There are some exceptions to what the law considers marital property. For example, inheritances and gifts that only one spouse receives are often classified as non-marital assets. Additionally, prenuptial agreements may determine what the couples own jointly and what is separate.
How is marital property divided?
In Florida, couples must divide marital property equitably. This means that the courts will try to distribute the assets fairly but not always equally. To determine what is fair, a judge will consider multiple factors, including:
- Number of years married
- Individual incomes
- Number of dependent children
- Each spouse’s health and age
- Contributions to the relationship
Splitting up assets can lead to serious conflict, even during amicable divorces. Thorough knowledge of the division process and realistic expectations can help to reduce friction and ensure an outcome that both individuals are happy with.