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Law spells out how property should be split in divorce

Florida residents contemplating a divorce may be interested to know that state law is very specific when it comes to dividing property when a marriage ends. Following the principle of equitable distribution, a court will divide marital assets and liabilities equally between the spouses, with some notable exceptions.

The law lists 10 instances when the courts may consider making an unequal distribution of jointly held assets and liabilities. Factors the courts may consider include how long the marriage has lasted; how much each spouse has contributed to the marriage, whether it be as a breadwinner or homemaker; and whether one spouse contributed to the education and career of the other.

The court also needs to consider if it is in the best interests of any children for the custodial parent to keep the family home, and if the parents have the financial resources to maintain that home until the child reaches majority. Additionally, if one spouse has intentionally disposed of any joint assets within two years of one spouse filing for divorce or immediately afterward, the distribution of assets does not need to be equal.

Divorces can be traumatic experiences, but sometimes are the only solution when spouses no longer wish to be together. Dividing marital assets can be a difficult process, though many couples are able to agree on division of property on their own. A spouse who does not want a divorce, however, can be contentious when it comes to divvying up the assets. Both spouses may require lawyers to help in this process, rather than leave everything up to the court to decide.

Source: leg.state.fl.us, "61.075 Equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities", September 30, 2014

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