When you divorce, you aren't just ending a marriage; you are also ending a financial relationship. When two people get married, their financial interests merge. When you get divorced, these interests need to be separated and reassigned.
No matter how many assets you have, the stakes of dividing them can be quite high; and while this doesn't have to devolve into a bitter battle, it is crucial to approach this situation armed with knowledge and legal guidance.
First, you must understand that there are two categories of assets: separate and marital. Separate assets include those that belong to just one spouse. Marital assets, on the other hand, are jointly owned by both spouses. Florida property division laws dictate that only marital assets are eligible for distribution.
This means that if you have separate assets like gifts, inheritances or property you owned prior to your marriage, these will not be distributed.
However, if you merged these assets with your marital assets after getting married, there is a possibility that what was once a separate asset has changed into a marital asset. This can prove to be a source of contention if you and your ex don't agree on what is and is not eligible for distribution. In some cases, a financial analyst can help clear things up; in other cases, the matter will be left in the hands of a court.
Once all the assets (and debts) have been categorized, the process of dividing them up can begin. How they are divided will vary from case to case, but generally speaking, they will be distributed in a manner deemed equitable and reflective of factors like contributions to the marriage, income, duration of the marriage and future earning potential.
Hopefully, the information in this post has given you a broad overview or the property division process in Florida and therefore an idea of what to expect during this step of your divorce. For more detailed information and guidance, it can be best to consult an attorney.