Is Florida A 50/50 State?
Many people think that when they are married and get a divorce, marital property is split 50/50 between the couple but in Florida, that is not necessarily true. States that divide everything equally and straight down the middle are known as community property states, and Florida is not one of them. Instead, Florida divorces are governed by equitable distribution laws. Under these laws, marital property is divided fairly, although not necessarily equally in a divorce. While the courts will still try to divide property equally, the court can use discretion when deviating from that method.
What is Marital Property?
In a Florida divorce, only marital property is subject to property division. This includes assets and debts the couple accrued together during the marriage. Common types of marital property include:
- Bank account funds
- Real estate property
- Retirement accounts
Unlike marital property, separate property is not divided in a divorce. Separate property includes assets and debts that one spouse owned prior to the marriage and brought into the relationship. Still, some types of property, such as inheritances received during the marriage and income that has not been commingled with marital income are considered separate property in divorce.
Factors the Court will Consider
When determining how to divide the marital property of the couple, a judge will take many different factors into consideration. These are as follows:
- The contributions each spouse made to the marriage,
- Contributions one spouse made as a homemaker,
- How long the couple was married,
- Whether either spouse experienced an interruption in their career or education, particularly if it was to support their spouse’s career or education,
- The contribution one spouse made to the other’s education or career, and
- Whether either spouse intentionally wasted marital assets
Couples in Florida are always encouraged to try and reach a settlement agreement on their own before taking the matter to court. This is often where the help of a Florida family lawyer is extremely valuable. Lawyers are skilled negotiators and can facilitate compromise between the two parties, which can allow them to avoid arbitration or court hearings.
Unfortunately, sometimes the couple simply cannot reach an agreement and so, they may have to take it to a judge or an arbitrator that will make the final decision. If this happens and the couple is not happy with the final decision made by the court or an arbitrator, there is nothing they can do about it, which is why it is recommended that couples reach an agreement on their own.
Our Florida Family Lawyers Can Help with Your Property Division Issues
When going through a divorce, there are many issues that will arise and one of the most contentious involves the division of property. At O’Mara Law Group, our experienced Orlando family lawyers will help you keep the emotions out of it and will negotiate the fair settlement you deserve. Call us today at 407-634-6604 or fill out our online form to schedule a consultation so we can review your case.