During a divorce, a couple’s property will be placed in two different groups: non-marital property and marital property. Non-marital property is generally the property a spouse owned before the marriage, with a couple of exceptions. Marital property is most of the property the couple acquired during the marriage. It does not matter which spouse’s name is on the title or the account, if either spouse acquired it during the marriage, it is likely marital property.
At the end of the divorce, each spouse will keep their non-marital property, but they will need to divide the marital property equitably. There is a presumption that the property will be divided equally between the spouses, but there can be an unequal division if there is a reason why one spouse should receive more than half.
Factors used to determine an equitable division of property
To determine whether there should be an unequal division of marital property, judges analyze a number of factors. These include, but are not limited to:
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, which includes not just economic contributions. It also includes contributions as a homemaker and care of the children.
- The economic circumstances of each spouse. Their education level, work history and any interruptions to either their education or careers.
- The contribution of one spouse to allow the other to further their education or career.
- The duration of the marriage.
- The desirability to keep the children in the marital home with the custodial parent.
- Each spouse’s contribution to the enhancement or income generation of marital property.
- Whether either spouse wasted or dissipated marital property within the two years prior to starting the divorce.
Couples can acquire many different assets and types of property throughout their marriage in Florida. These assets will need to be divided during the divorce. However, before these assets can be divided they need to be valued to ensure there is an equitable division of them. For bank accounts this will be fairly simple, but for houses, vehicles and other types of property, the couple may need to utilize appraisals and other types of valuations. This can be a complicated process and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.