Many couples that divorce in Florida are unable to reach an agreement about property division outside of court. If a judge must determine how to divide marital assets between two spouses, the judge does so according to the principle of equitable distribution that is followed in Florida and in the majority of other states. Equitable distribution means that marital property is divided fairly, but not necessarily equally.
Before making decisions about property division, a judge will set aside all assets and liabilities that are designated as separate property. These non-marital assets might be property that one spouse acquired before the marriage or during the marriage through a gift or an inheritance. Likewise, any debts that were acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage will not be the responsibility of the other spouse after a divorce.
A judge begins dividing marital property equitably by assuming that all of the property should be divided equally unless there is a reason to divide it in another manner. Some of the factors that are considered during this process include the financial contribution to the purchase of property by each spouse, the length of the marriage and each spouse's financial circumstances. If there are dependent children involved, the children's need to continue living in the marital home with the custodial parent will be an important consideration.
An individual who is going through a divorce might be concerned about losing valuable non-marital and marital assets during property division. Someone in this situation might want to seek representation from an attorney before attending any divorce hearings. An attorney may be able to help ensure that a person's non-marital assets are protected from equitable division and marital assets are divided fairly.
Source: online sunshine , "CHAPTER 61 DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE; SUPPORT; TIME-SHARING", January 07, 2015