- 07 Apr
Distributing Assets Before a Divorce is Final
The division of assets in a divorce case will vary depending on the state in which you reside. In the state of Florida, courts favor an equitable and fair distribution of assets. As a result, while the division of assets may not be exactly equal, the courts aim to ensure that each spouse is treated fairly and receives a similar portion of the assets.
Marital Vs. Non-Marital Assets
Marital and non-marital property are treated differently under Florida statues. Consequently, one of the first steps in dividing equity from a marriage is to identify which are the marital and the non-marital property.
Marital property consists of any assets acquired during the marriage by one or both spouses. Even if an asset is in the name of one of the spouses, if it was acquired during the marriage, it is typically considered marital property. Most gifts given between spouses will be treated as marital property. Additionally, benefits, rights, or funds acquired during the marriage are typically considered marital property.
Non-marital assets (and liabilities) includes assets acquired prior to the marriage, assets acquired by inheritance during the marriage, income from previously acquired non-marital assets such as a rental property, and any property delineated in a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
However, if a non-marital asset grows in value because of the work or investments from one or both spouses, the value of the enhanced portion of the asset will typically be considered marital property. The decision on enhancement value and whether it is marital or non-marital will be evaluated by the courts considering any labor or investments by either spouse as well as asset appreciation or depreciation. The courts will need to closely examine cases of businesses owned by one spouse but enhanced by the work of the other spouse.
Commingled assets are when assets from different accounts are blended, such as when a couple marries and decides to use one of the spouse’s bank accounts as their main account. In these situations, if the couple can agree on which portion of the money in the account is non-marital versus marital, then the court can proceed. If the pair can’t agree, the court will need to evaluate.
Not only do the assets get divided during a Florida divorce; so do the liabilities. Similar to the treatment of assets, liabilities are divided based on marital and non-marital debt. Generally, non-marital liabilities will continue to be the individual spouse’s responsibility while debt acquired during the marriage will remain the responsibility of both spouses.
Divorce Asset Distribution Before Divorce
It is possible to request partial distribution of assets BEFORE the final divorce judgement is completed. In order to do so, a spouse would need to file a motion with specific reasoning for the request. In these rare cases, the judge may allocate a partial distribution of property prior to the final divorce court decision.
Once the couple has divided their assets and liabilities on paper, the court will work with the couple and an accountant to determine property value. The court may consider the following when making final decisions regarding the distribution of assets:
• Contribution of each spouse to marriage including childcare, taking care of the home, helping to advance the education or career of the other, and necessity of a spouse to stay at home
• Disruption of education or career to a spouse
• Financial situation of each spouse and any wasting of assets in the two years prior to filing for divorce
• Length of marriage
Are you considering filing for divorce in the state of Florida? Protect your interests by contacting a reputable and experienced attorney.
Troy Legal, P.A. was founded in 2009 and serves clients throughout South Florida. Troy Legal, P.A., specializes in Marital and Family Law, providing reputable legal services for prenuptial and co-habitation agreements, paternity cases, adoption matters, alimony and child support, time sharing and parenting plans, drafting of qualified domestic relations orders (qdros), mediation services, equitable distributions, collaborative law, post-judgement modification and enforcement, domestic violence cases, and dissolution of marriage or divorce. Troy Legal, P.is dedicated to serving clients through compassionate and aggressive representation, while upholding the highest degree of ethical standards.
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