As a marriage dissolves the complicated issues of how to divide mutually held property can be very tough to resolve. Even defining what is mutually held is not easy or a clear cut path. Often partners bring different assets or possessions into a marriage, perhaps earlier possessions that were owned or a family inheritance. If there are businesses or incoming producing assets involved, such as commercial real estate or mineral rights, they can be quite difficult to divide.
For example, a family-owned business cannot always be divided without severely harming the business itself. An apartment building cannot readily be cut in half and divided among the two partners. Trying to negotiate the fairness of property division is rarely simple and is one of the key areas that a Fort Myers divorce attorney will be called upon to resolve for their clients.
Understanding Florida Law and Property Division in a Divorce
It is important that our clients at Calvo & Calvo, Attorneys at Law, understand several fundamentals in regards to property division in a divorce. Florida is an "equitable distribution state." This means that the State Courts will follow certain procedures and processes when the individuals in a divorce cannot come to a resolution on property division. An equitable distribution involves the application of certain principles of fairness and contribution rather than arbitrary divisions such as a "50/50" split.
When Distribution Must Be Handled by the Court
If the property and debts have not been settled between the partners with a signed Marital Settlement Agreement submitted for court acceptance and decree then the following takes place:
First - the property is classified as to what will be considered marital, this includes assets and debts. The items are then assigned monetary values. From here, a distribution based upon what is fair and equitable is done by the Court. This is not normally an equal split.
The Court considers factors such as:
- The contribution to the marriage - this includes childcare, homemaking, income production, the acquisition of assets or the creation of debts and liabilities
- What is the economic situation of each party?
- What did either party contribute to the other?
- Was either party's career or education stalled or interrupted due to the marriage?
- How long did the marriage last?
- Is it in the best interest to keep an asset intact?
- Is it best to keep a home for the interests of any children?
This is just a short look at the many complex factors involved in determining how assets and liabilities will be handled in a divorce.
It is extremely important that you contact our Fort Myers divorce lawyer for a full look at your divorce and your rights.
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