Divorce cases can be complicated, and one of the most challenging aspects is dividing up the assets and debts between spouses. This process is known as the “equitable distribution” of property and is a critical component of any divorce case. In Florida, the process of dividing assets and debts is governed by Fla. Stat. 61.075.
Under Florida law, marital property is divided based on the principle of equitable distribution. This means that the court will try to divide the property in a fair and just way to both parties, based on a variety of factors, including the length of the marriage, the contributions of each spouse to the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each spouse.
One of the first steps in the equitable distribution process is to identify all of the assets and debts that are considered marital property. Marital property includes any assets or debts acquired during the marriage, regardless of who paid for them. Non-marital property, on the other hand, includes assets that were acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gifts during the marriage.
Once all of the marital assets and debts have been identified, the court will then determine the value of each asset and the amount of each debt. This can be a complex process, as some assets, such as a business or collectibles, may be difficult to value. In some cases, the parties may need to hire appraisers or other experts to help determine the value of certain assets.
Once the value of the assets and debts has been determined, the court will then begin the process of dividing them between the spouses. This may involve dividing assets in kind, such as dividing bank accounts or furniture, or selling assets and dividing the proceeds.
It is important to note that Florida is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that the court will not necessarily divide the assets and debts equally between the spouses. The court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors set forth in Fla. Stat. 61.075.
In some cases, the parties may be able to reach an agreement on the division of assets and debts through negotiation or mediation. This can be a less expensive and less stressful option than going to court. However, it is important to have an attorney review any agreement before it is finalized, to ensure that it is fair and equitable to both parties.
The process of equitable distribution in divorce cases in Florida can be complex and challenging. It is important to work with an experienced attorney who can help you navigate this process and ensure that your rights and interests are protected. By understanding the principles of equitable distribution and working with an attorney, you can achieve a fair and just division of assets and debts in your divorce case.
At Weiner & Weiss, LLC, our lawyers help parents at every stage of their case. Members of our Family Law Practice stand ready to help you protect your rights, in court or through settlement. Call our Boca Raton office today at (561) 391-1333 or contact us online.
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