While most states in the US are community property states, Florida is one of the nine that is not. This means that you and your spouse do not necessarily own all your assets, debts and income equally (divided 50-50 between the spouses).
Florida is an equitable division state during a divorce. Therefore, if you are in Florida, you should know a few things about equitable distribution.
1. Division factors in equitable distribution
The courts take several factors into consideration when dividing your assets and liabilities during a divorce, including the length of your marriage. They consider your economic circumstances, who will live in your home and whether you pay support. Courts evaluate career and educational support as well. Judges review challenging divisions as well, such as family business ownership.
2. Marital versus nonmarital assets
Any asset you acquired before your marriage is a nonmarital asset. These assets are not subject to division during a divorce. However, if you acquired property, investments or other valuables during your marriage, these are marital assets. Also, if you add your spouse to a nonmarital asset, it becomes a marital asset.
In addition, if your retirement account, insurance programs, annuities or other financial assets increase in value, the increase is a marital and is vulnerable to division.
3. Valuation of marital assets
After separating your assets into marital and nonmarital, you, an appraiser or a judge assigns a value to them. An actuary or CPA may have to evaluate financial assets, such as pensions and retirement accounts. You should understand the tax implications of each asset prior to negotiating your settlement.
Prepare yourself to sell your marital home because if you cannot reach an agreement with your spouse, the judge may order it sold and the profit divided.