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Who owns what in a divorce?

A successful marriage may have lasted ten, fifteen or even twenty-plus years. However, that doesn't mean that two people won't wake up, look at each other and realize that they want to go their separate ways. Sometimes people grow apart. So what does that mean for their accumulated marital property?

When talking about marital property to be divided during a high-asset divorce, the goal is to have an equitable division that is fair to both parties. That is all well and good, but what happens if both parties want the same assets? This is where it can get tricky. One may have to bargain for the asset they truly want by giving up something else -- unless the other party can be persuaded otherwise. However, certain marital assets can be split.

For instance, it's possible to divide financial accounts like 401(k), stocks and other monetary accounts between divorcing parties. Assets like homes or other property are difficult to split, unless the proceeds from sale are split fairly. Since Florida is a common law property state, property acquired by one member of a married couple is owned completely and solely by that person. If two names are on the deed, the asset is considered jointly owned. However, divorce settlements are meant to be equitable, meaning that one person's success is balanced against the sacrifice of the spouse, if such situation needs balancing.

Determining what divorce settlement is equitable isn't a one-size-fits all solution. It depends on personal circumstances and present financial situations, as well as situations predicted to happen in the future. Marital property is best determined when every asset and liability is accounted for. Attorneys are available to assist with the process.

Source:, "Who owns what in marital property?," Accessed April 10, 2017

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