When marriages end in Florida, the shared life that the couple had during the marriage also comes to an end. This means they need to divide all of their marital property as they separate their lives.
The first step in this process is to determine what property is marital and which property is non-marital. In general, marital property is the property that either spouse acquired during the marriage and non-marital property is the property each spouse had prior to the marriage.
There are some exceptions to this rule, but after determining the marital and non-marital property, the division of marital property can begin.
The presumption is that the property should be divided equally between the spouses, but there are circumstances when that is not fair. There are times when the only fair division is an unequal division.
Factors used to determine an unequal division of property
To determine whether there should be an unequal division of property, a judge needs to analyze a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to:
- How each party contributed to the marriage and how they contributed to acquisition of the property
- The length of the marriage
- The economic circumstances of each spouse especially considering an equal division of assets
- If one spouse decided to stop their career to care for children or to allow the other spouse to go to school or advance their career
- Whether either spouse intentionally dissipated the marital property within two years of starting the divorce.
Division of property can be a very complicated process in Florida. Sometimes simply valuing all of the property can be complicated.
After determining the value of all of the property, the parties will need to analyze factors to determine if an unequal division is appropriate. Experienced attorneys understand this entire process and may be able to guide one through it.