More often than not, parties own or have an interest in and to various forms of property or owe debts at the time of their marriage. In most instances, spouses will acquire property or incur debts during the marriage. Property can take many forms including, a home, bank accounts, automobiles, jewelry, businesses, all the way down to dishes and flatware.
Ordinarily, the court simply does not have the resources or time to divide each and every asset at issue between the parties in a dissolution proceeding. Ordinarily, parties are able to resolve their differences and come to an agreement regarding the distribution of smaller assets.
However, if the parties are unable to agree upon the distribution of any assets or liabilities at issue between them, the court will divide the assets and liabilities at issue between the parties through a process referred to as equitable distribution.
There are a number of factors the court ordinarily considers when determining an equitable distribution of the marital assets and liabilities between the parties. These factors are listed in Florida Statutes §61.075.
It is important to realize that an equitable distribution may not necessary be an equal distribution. Experienced family law attorneys can discuss how to protect your property interests and to pursue an equitable distribution of all assets and/or liabilities at issue so that you receive a fair share of the assets and are only required to pay a fair share of the liabilities.
Generally, any assets acquired or liabilities incurred by either party prior to marriage are considered the separate, non-marital assets or liabilities of that party. Similarly, property acquired during the course of marriage or debts incurred following the marriage are marital in nature.
The process of equitable distribution and determining your fair share of the assets and your fair share of the liabilities can be complex and our attorneys are experienced in assisting clients to ensure they truly receive an equitable distribution of the assets and liabilities in connection with the dissolution proceedings.