Florida Property Division Factors
In Florida, the property and debt issues are typically settled between the parties by a signed Marital Settlement Agreement or the property award is actually order and decreed by the Circuit Court within the Final Judgment of Dissolution of Marriage.
Florida is referred to as an "equitable distribution" state. When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the Circuit Court will take the following approach to dividing the assets; First, it will go through a discovery process to classify which property and debt is to be considered marital. Next, it will assign a monetary value on the marital property and debt. Last, it will distribute the marital assets between the two parties in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is deemed by the Circuit Court to be fair.
The Florida court will consider the following factors in making a property award, including: (1) The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker. (2) The economic circumstances of the parties. (3) The duration of the marriage. (4) Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party. (5) The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse. (6) The desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party. (7) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets of the parties. (8) The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so, it is in the best interest of the child or that party (9) The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition. (10) Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties. (Florida Statutes - Chapters: 61.075 and 61.077)
Since Florida is an "Equitable Distribution" state, all marital property will be divided in an equitable fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses. What does "equitable" mean? Equitable can be defined as "what is fair, not necessarily equal." To automatically believe the marital property would be divided 50-50 would be a wrong assumption in any equitable distribution state. You can also read more about Florida property division in the Florida state statutes located at: http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/.
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