Property Division in Florida Divorce Cases

- Gary E. Williams

According to a report from the Florida Department of Health last year, the divorce rate in the Sunshine State is on the decline.

Although the amount of marriages has been declining over the course of the last decade, the report revealed that marriages in Florida are actually on the rise, though ever so slightly. In fact, statistics revealed that there were roughly 54 divorces for every one hundred marriages – a low percentage not seen since the early 1960s.

Despite this trend, statistics also revealed that more people get married and divorced in the state of Florida, compared to the national average – the marriage and divorce rate nation-wide is roughly half a percent less than in Florida.

When couples make the difficult decision to end a marriage, there are a number of issues to consider, including the division of property. The state of Florida is unique in this sense, as it is considered an equitable distribution state, which carries with it a unique set of legal circumstances.

Florida — an Equitable Distribution State

In states like Florida, “equitable distribution” refers to the notion that all marital property should be divided between the divorcing spouses. However, not all property owned by an individual may be considered marital property. For example, “separate” or pre-marital property refers to assets acquired prior to or outside of the marriage.

However, in equitable distribution cases today, things are not always so clear. Such was the case in Kaaa v. Kaaa, a Florida Supreme Court case from 2010. In essence, this case ruled that, even if a spouse was the sole owner and titleholder of a home prior to a marriage, the spouse could still be eligible to the equity of the property.

Although the state statutes focus specifically on each spouse being entitled to a certain portion of marital assets, cases may be made for the unequal distribution of assets. In these cases, a court will consider a number of factors, including the contribution of each spouse on the accumulation, waste, destruction or depletion of marital assets.

Because the guidelines regarding equitable distribution are growing increasingly complex, dealing with any sort of significant assets should be handled carefully be a professional, such as a family law attorney.

These types of cases also require a certain degree of financial finesse, and an attorney that understands complex financial issues. In the state of Florida, there are attorneys who specialize in complex family law matters, including those dealing with the equitable, or even unequal, distribution of assets during divorce.

Finding a Divorce Attorney in Florida

If you or someone you love is dealing with divorce in Florida, or if you are concerned about the distribution of sizable assets during divorce, it is important that you contact a qualified divorce attorney as soon as possible.

In Pinellas County, the dedicated attorneys at the Law Firm for Family Law focus on a wide array of family law issues, including complex matters like equitable distribution. Not only is our firm’s founder, Gary E. Williams, a Board Certified Expert in Family and Marital Law, but he is also a Divorce Financial Analyst, with a deep understanding of complex financial issues.

As a result, our team is comprised of only the most highly skilled attorneys, who are equipped with the tools and experience necessary to see your complex family law case through to a successful end result.

As a convenience to new clients, we are pleased to offer a free initial consultation to help assess your case. To get started, call the divorce attorneys at the Law Firm for Family Law today at (727) 531-8737.