Equitable distribution refers to the process of dividing any assets or liabilities that were acquired or incurred during the marriage. Any asset or liability that is marital can be distributed during a divorce; these are considered “marital”. Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that all marital assets and liabilities will be equitably divided. Although the starting point for the distribution is 50/50 to each spouse, equitable means fair, which may not result in an equal split. Any assets acquired and any liabilities incurred during the marriage through the use of marital funds or marital labor are considered during the equitable distribution analysis. Savings, pensions, 401(k)s, IRAs, vacation homes, stocks and bonds, mutual funds, credit card accounts, mortgages, automobiles and auto loans, airline miles, personal property, etc. are all examples of marital assets and liabilities.
Generally, “non-marital” property is property that was acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage, by inheritance during the marriage, or by exclusion in a pre-nuptial agreement. The nature of your property can impact how it’s divided in the divorce. Although separate property is owned by one spouse, Florida judges can award all or portions of a spouse’s non-marital property to the other spouse if the judge determines that it would be fair. Marital and non-marital assets and/or debts must be properly categorized in order to carry out a proper equitable distribution analysis.
It is important to note that once a final judgment is entered regarding the distribution of personal property, these awards are fixed and will not be subject to modification, even in Court. It is crucial that you fully understand your rights and obligations when going through a divorce, as well as the consequences of any decisions made. Our team of experts is here to help you navigate this uncharted territory so that you can comfortably make informed decisions and take back control of your life.