Throughout the course of most marriages, couples build up various assets and property together. When they decide to get a divorce, this can make the process difficult, as they must address the challenge of dividing this property in a fair and equitable manner.
One of the things that surprises many people going through a divorce is that while state law calls for the equitable division of assets, it does not guarantee the split to be equal. There are a number of reasons why a judge may allow an unequal division, including:
- The contributions each spouse made to the marriage
- The financial situation of both parties, including income-earning potential
- Whether one spouse interrupted a career or educational opportunities to the benefit of the other
The only types of property that must go through the division process are marital assets, which typically include any items the couple gained during their marriage. Property each spouse brought into the marriage originally may be exempt, as well as any items inherited or gifted to only one of the partners specifically. However, each of these items must be reviewed on a case by case basis, because there are some exceptions.
Another potential surprise is that courts have the ability to incorporate separate property into the division process if it finds that one spouse irresponsibly spent or wasted marital assets. In addition, gifts from one spouse to the other and real estate or personal property both spouses hold the title to are also considered marital property and subject to division.
Considering all of this and the fact that property division law in Florida can be quite complex, it’s important to work with a skilled divorce attorney to protect your best interests. The Jacksonville law office of Combs Green, PA has years of experience assisting with these tough family law issues.
Attorney Shane Herbert also contributed to this blog post.