If you’re filing for a divorce in Florida, you’ll quickly become familiar with the term equitable distribution. What is equitable distribution and how does it work under state law? In short, you and your spouse or partner must split your collective assets and debts as evenly as possible.
Before you can divide your property in Florida, you must determine what property is marital and what is separate. Florida Statute 61.075, Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets and Liabilities, clearly defines the difference between the two types of property. This difference is important to understand because separate property is not included in the divorce process.
In general, your property is separate if you or your spouse owned it before your marriage or if during marriage, you got it as a gift or inherited it. Marital property in Florida includes all assets and debts either you or your spouse acquired while you were married. And it doesn’t matter if the property or debt is just in your name or in both your names.
How do you determine what is an asset and what isn’t? Assets can include things such as:
- Retirement accounts
- Deferred compensation
You can divide your property on your own or with assistance from a mediator if you cannot reach a mutual agreement. Remember that you also have to split your debts equally. However, depending on your situation, a judge can make you or your partner responsible for paying the bills to ensure overall equity.
If you are thinking about getting a divorce, call an experienced divorce lawyer for assistance. The legal ins and outs of divorce law and equitable distribution can be complicated. Get an advocate to protect what is rightfully yours. Contact us at (727) 531-8737.