The beginning of the end: splitting assets in Florida

The sun doesn't always shine in Florida, nor does it always shine on a married couple. If the dark clouds of divorce are starting to block out the light on your marriage, you may have concerns about what's going to happen to everything for which you've worked so hard, especially in a high asset divorce.

What's on the table?

Over the years, a couple may accumulate a large collection of assets, some tangible, and some less so. Among the marital assets up for division after a high-income couple splits may be:

  • Cars
  • Martial home and vacation property (including time-share ownership)
  • Boats
  • RVs
  • Pensions
  • Investments
  • Home furnishings
  • Credit cards and other debts

The last line might have caught your eye. Yes, martial debts are also considered property, and they will be a part of the division process.

Who decides what is "fair"?

When a couple divorces in Florida, they have the opportunity to decide for themselves how to split up their property. If you and your spouse cannot agree, then it will fall to a judge to make the final decision.

In the state of Florida, the division of marital assets (and debts) is done in an equitable manner. Each party receives what the judge determines to be a fair portion of the assets and the debts. In theory, an even division is possible, but it is highly unlikely. The judge listens to arguments and considers numerous factors before reaching a decision. These may include:

  • Individual contributions to the marriage and/or family
  • Individual economic standing (current employment status, earning potential, etc.)
  • Duration of the marriage
  • Desirability of child(ren) staying in family home

Other possible considerations

Certian assets may receive correspondingly special attention from the judge. For example, a judge may decide it would be best that one party solely own a joint asset, such as a business. This may happen if it appears the couple would be unable to act together in the best interest of the business, thus jeopardizing the value of the asset.

A judge may also consider the spending habits of either spouse leading up to the divorce. If there appears to have been willful destruction, dispersion, or misappropriation of assets, the judge might balance the loss by awarding the other spouse additional assets.

Don't go in unprepared

What your life as a single person looks like, at least at the outset, will very much depend on how the handling of the divorce. In particular, the process of property division will factor heavily into your initial financial picture.

Being prepared to present a convincing case and fight for your rights will help give you the best opportunity to win a truly fair share of the fruits of your marriage. A skilled attorney will make sure you're ready, and provide exceptional representation throughout the entire process.

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