Equitable Distribution

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Equitable distribution refers to the way that that marital property and debts are distributed in Florida. Florida law requires an equitable division but also says that in most cases equitable means equal. Many times trying to determine what is marital and what is not, becomes the battle of the litigation.

Before distribution, it must be determined if either spouse owns any property separately which is not subject to division in divorce. Separate property can be if one spouse owned the property before marriage, acquired it as a gift (not from the other spouse) or by inheritance.

Unless there is a valid written agreement stating otherwise, marital property in Florida includes all assets and debts either spouse acquires during the marriage.

Couples can make their own agreements about dividing property on their own or by using a mediator. Courts will typically recognize the agreement if they’re in writing and the spouses have used an attorney to confer with about the arrangements. However, if the couple cannot come to terms, an arbitrator or a judge can make the division of property after considering a number of factors such as the length of the marriage, individual economic circumstances, if the minor children or either spouse would be better off living at the marital home. Other factors include how each spouse contributed to the marriage, if one spouse interrupted their career or education for the other, the debts and liabilities and whether assets were intentionally wasted or destroyed at the time of the divorce petition or two years preceding it.

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Our many successful results demonstrate our dedication to hard work, our genuine concern for clients and the trust that we instill in each client. Many former clients have shown their confidence in our services by sending a friend or family member our way when they are faced with a difficult Family Law problem — and we are happy to serve their needs with the same level of compassion, support and experience.

Attorney Michael Hines has successfully resolved Parenting Plan issues and situations from amicable and fairly simple to logistically complex to the seemingly impossible.

Considerations of the Court

In determining how to the divide a divorcing parties’ assets and liabilities the Court must consider the following.

  • (a) The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker.
  • (b) The economic circumstances of the parties.
  • (c) The duration of the marriage.
  • (d) Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
  • (e) The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
  • (f) 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.
  • (g) 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.
  • (h) 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, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence until the child is emancipated or until exclusive possession is otherwise terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. In making this determination, the court shall first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, whether other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home.
  • (i) 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.
  • (j) Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
  • The Statute defines “Marital assets and liabilities” to include:

  • (a) Assets acquired and liabilities incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by them.
  • (b) The enhancement in value and appreciation of nonmarital assets resulting either from the efforts of either party during the marriage or from the contribution to or expenditure thereon of marital funds or other forms of marital assets, or both.
  • (c) Interspousal gifts during the marriage.
  • (d) All vested and nonvested benefits, rights, and funds accrued during the marriage in retirement, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, deferred compensation, and insurance plans and programs.
  • Put our experience to work for you.

    Call the law office of Michael Hines now at 904-794-7898.