When it comes to dividing up assets in a divorce, there are two types of states. The first is known as a community property state, while the second is called an equitable distribution model. The state of Florida follows the latter, meaning that a court will make the final decision on which spouse will walk away with which assets.
Within an equitable distribution state, a ruling that would be considered “fair” by both parties is neither required, nor guaranteed. In other words, things do not have to be split evenly down the middle. It is highly recommended that divorcing parties in Florida still make every effort to negotiate and settle on a distribution agreement. While there is no guarantee that a Judge will sign off on it, chances are far more likely that he or she will not stray far from it.
Specific consideration should be given when a couple are navigating a high-asset divorce, or one that involves a business. A good starting point for negotiations is for the parties to create a list of all assets and liabilities, whether obtained during the marriage, or owned by one party beforehand. Then, determine who should retain which. In high-asset matters, expert appraisers should be brought in to determine proper market values of things such as art collections or heirloom jewelry. An expert business appraiser may also be consulted when a family business is at stake.
Regardless of value, any spouse who is involved in a Florida divorce where there are assets to be divided could benefit from the advice of a family law attorney. Complex asset division is easier to navigate when there is a neutral party involved who can consider your financial future outside of emotional turmoil.