Understanding Equitable Distribution in Florida Divorces

Understanding Equitable Distribution in Florida Divorces

In Florida, equitable distribution is the term used for the division of marital assets and liabilities between divorcing spouses. What this means is that all property and debts acquired during the marriage will be divided fairly and equitably between the spouses, regardless of who earned or owned them. This can be a difficult process, especially when there are a lot of assets and debts to divide. 

In this blog post, we will discuss what equitable distribution in Florida entails and how it can affect your divorce proceedings.

What Is Equitable Distribution in Florida?

Equitable distribution is a term used in some states to describe the division of marital assets and liabilities between divorcing spouses. In Florida, equitable distribution applies to all property and debts acquired during the marriage, regardless of who owns or earns them. This means the court divides everything fairly and equitably between the spouses, taking into account factors such as each spouse’s income, contributions to the marriage, and needs after the divorce.

It’s important to remember equitably does not necessarily mean equally. The court will consider a number of factors when determining who gets what after a divorce, ensuring a just resolution is reached.

What Does Equitable Distribution in Florida Mean for Me?

If you are going through a divorce in Florida, equitable distribution will likely have a big impact on your case. This can be a difficult process, especially if you have a lot of assets and debts. You will need to make sure you understand all of the equitable distribution laws in Florida and how they apply to your case.

So, let’s talk more about the specifics next.

What Are the Factors the Court Takes into Account with Equitable Distribution in Florida?

There are many factors the court takes into account when it comes to equitable distribution in Florida. Some of these factors include:

  • Each spouse’s income
  • Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage
  • Whether either spouse has a history of domestic violence
  • Each spouse’s mental and physical health
  • Each spouse’s needs after the divorce
  • The value of the property and debts being divided

Separate versus Marital Property

It’s also important to discuss the differences between separate versus marital property when it comes to equitable distribution in Florida.

Here, all property and debts acquired during the marriage are considered marital property. This means they’re shared between the spouses in equitable distribution. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

For example, if you owned a piece of property before getting married, it would typically be considered separate property and would not be subject to equitable distribution.

What is Separate Property in Florida?

As mentioned above, separate property is any property you owned before getting married. This includes assets such as cars, houses, and bank accounts. It also includes debts that were incurred before the marriage.

What is Marital Property in Florida?

Marital property is all property and debts acquired during the marriage. This includes everything from a simple bank account to a house or car. Again, it’s important to note the marital property is subject to equitable distribution, meaning it will be divided between the spouses fairly.

Other Questions About Divorce & Equitable Distribution in Florida

Is Florida a 50/50 Divorce State?

No, Florida is not a 50/50 divorce state. Assets and debts are not automatically split equally between the spouses. Instead, the court considers all of the factors mentioned above when dividing marital property.

Can I Get Alimony in Florida?

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a payment from one spouse to another following a divorce. In Florida, alimony is awarded on a case-by-case basis. It depends on many factors such as each spouse’s income, needs, and contributions to the marriage.

Additionally, there are five types of alimony in Florida:

  1. Bridge-the-gap alimony: This type of alimony is awarded to help a spouse transition from being married to being single. It can be awarded for a maximum of two years and cannot be modified.
  2. Durational alimony: This type of alimony is awarded when permanent periodic alimony is not appropriate. It can be awarded for a set period of time and can be modified or terminated under certain circumstances.
  3. Permanent periodic alimony: As the name suggests, this type of alimony is paid on a regular basis until the death of either spouse or the remarriage of the receiving spouse. It can be modified under certain circumstances.
  4. Rehabilitative alimony: This type of alimony is awarded to help a spouse become self-supporting. It can be awarded for a set period of time or until the receiving spouse becomes self-supporting.
  5. Lump sum alimony: This type of alimony is paid in one lump sum and cannot be modified or terminated.

Learn more about alimony in Florida here.

What If I Can’t Agree With My Spouse on How to Divide Our Property?

If you and your spouse can’t agree on how to divide your marital assets and liabilities, the court steps in and does it for you. This is known as dissolution of marriage or divorce proceedings. The court will look at all of the factors listed above when making its decision, ensuring a fair and equitable resolution is reached.

Is Florida a Community Property State?

No, Florida isn’t a community property state. Instead, equitable distribution in Florida applies, meaning the division will be fair but not necessarily equal.

Can I Get Half of My Spouse’s Retirement Benefits in a Divorce?

It depends on whether your spouse earns their retirement benefits during the marriage. If your spouse earns retirement benefits during the marriage, they are considered marital property and will be divided between the spouses in equitable distribution. Alternatively, if your spouse earns retirement benefits before getting married, the court usually considers their separate property. This means they aren’t subject to equitable distribution in Florida.

Can I Get Half of My Spouse’s House in a Divorce?

Again, it depends on whether your spouse acquired the house during the marriage or before getting married. If your spouse acquired the house during the marriage, it is considered marital property and will likely be divided between you and your spouse in equitable distribution. 

However, if your spouse owned the house before getting married, it would be considered separate property and isn’t subject to equitable distribution.

The Bottom Line: Equitable Distribution in Florida

It’s important to remember that equitable distribution is a complex process. That’s why it’s always best to consult with an experienced divorce attorney before proceeding with your case. An attorney can help you understand the laws and how they apply to your specific situation. They can also help you negotiate a settlement with your spouse or take your case to court if necessary. If you’re on the Treasure Coast and you’re seeking experienced legal counsel to fight for your best interests, we are here to help. Contact Garcia Law, PL., today.

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