Once the reality of an impending divorce finally sets in for both spouses, meaning once the initial shock and sadness subsides, they will undoubtedly have a host of questions. Of particular concern will be how their assets and debts could potentially be divided in the absence of a prenuptial agreement.
Unfortunately, thanks to everything from television to secondhand accounts from friends and family, many soon-to-be divorced spouses may have slightly skewed visions of how the property division process will unfold. This, in turn, may cause them to experience unnecessary anxiety about the road ahead.
In recognition of this, today's post, the first in a series, will start taking a closer look how the property division process works here in Florida as a means of both educating people about the law and helping debunk popular misconceptions.
In general, Florida is known as an equitable division state. This means that in any divorce, the presiding judge will start with a presumption that assets and debts alike should be divided 50-50. However, if it's determined after consideration of a host of factors that a 50-50 division would not necessarily prove to be fair, the court is permitted to divide assets and debts in an equitable fashion, meaning a different proportion.
The factors the court will consider in determining whether an equitable, but not equal, division of assets and debts should occur, includes some of the following:
- The length of the marriage
- The contributions made by each spouse, including child care and homemaker services
- The economic circumstances of each spouse
- The contributions of each spouse to the education and/or professional career of the other spouse
- The debts/liabilities of each spouse
We'll continue this discussion in future posts, including an examination of the differences between marital property and separate property.
If you have questions or concerns relating to property division or other divorce-related issues, consider speaking with an experienced legal professional to learn more.