In a divorce, the distribution of marital assets is supposed to be equitable. Most of the time that means equal, but not always.
Florida is an “equitable distribution” state, so all marital assets are to be divided “fairly” between spouses during the divorce. Spouses may agree on a property split before the dissolution proceedings, called a marital settlement agreement or a stipulated settlement, to save time and money. If a settlement agreement cannot be reached through negotiation, the court divides the marital assets. It is crucial that during this process you work with an attorney who has the experience you need to protect your rights.
Florida courts consider the following factors and make a determination based on what they decide is fair and just for both parties:
Contributions of the parties, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as a homemaker
The financial circumstances of the parties
The length of the marriage
The interruption of the personal career of one party to help develop the other’s opportunities for growth
The importance of retaining assets, like a business, corporation or professional practice
The contribution of each spouse to income, incurring debts
Whether the marital home should be retained as a primary residence for children, or the other party, when it would be equitable to do so, it is in the best interest of the child or that party, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence
The intentional waste or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within two years prior to the filing of the petition
Some divorces are straightforward. When both parties agree on major issues, and there are not significant assets or minor children, the divorce process can be completed quickly after entering into a written settlement agreement. This, of course, is the best case scenario. Some divorces don’t go easily.
If a divorce involves substantial marital estates with business interests or extensive property, or a family home is behind on mortgage payments, things start getting tricky when it comes to separating assets or dividing property. You and your spouse may also disagree on many matters, and you may foresee a long litigation process. Bylund Law can help you make sure that assets and property are properly valuated and distributed fairly.
One of the most complex issues in any divorce is when one or both spouses own a business, operates a professional practice, or if complex assets such as stocks options or pensions are part of the marital estate. These things can become part of a drawn-out battle if you don’t have sound advice regarding these assets. Once we have determined what a business or piece of property is worth, we can help you reach a property distribution arrangement that accomplishes your objectives as quickly as possible.