March 9, 2023
Divorce is rarely easy and can involve complicated issues like asset and debt division. In the state of Florida, both marital and non-marital property and debts are subject to division during a divorce. Being aware of the laws and understanding the process in Florida can help ease the burden of a divorce and ensure the outcome is fair and equitable.
Understanding Florida’s Divorce Laws
Florida is an “equitable distribution state,” meaning that the court will divide marital assets and liabilities in a way it deems fair, considering factors such as the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial needs, and other relevant circumstances. Non-marital assets, defined as assets acquired before the wedding, assets acquired by one spouse as a gift or inheritance, or assets assigned to one spouse in a settlement agreement, are not affected by the equitable distribution process.
Dividing Marital Assets
In Florida, marital assets include any real estate, vehicles, retirement and investment accounts, bank accounts, small businesses, household furnishings, and pets owned during the marriage. These assets will be considered when determining how the assets should be divided.
It is important to note that the division of marital assets is not necessarily a 50/50 split. The court will consider various factors in determining how the assets should be divided, and the division may not be equal.
When it comes to dividing assets, the courts will look at the circumstances of each individual case. They will consider factors such as the length of the marriage, each party’s economic circumstances, and evidence of financial misconduct. For example, if one spouse has dissipated assets during the marriage, this will be considered when determining how the assets should be divided.
Dividing Marital Debts
In the same way marital assets must be divided, marital debts must also be divided between the divorcing spouses. This includes debts such as mortgages, car loans, joint credit cards, student loans, medical bills, and other loans.
Dividing debts can be more complicated than dividing assets, as it is sometimes difficult for the court to determine which spouse is liable for a particular debt. As with assets, the court will consider factors such as the length of the marriage when deciding how to divide the debts.
Compliance with Final Judgments
Once the court has issued its ruling and the spouses have accepted the division of assets and debts, both parties must comply with the ruling. Non-compliance can result in civil or criminal penalties. The only exception is if either spouse requests a modification of the verdict due to a change in circumstances.
Divorce proceedings can be a challenging, stressful experience. Understanding the laws and processes in Florida can help both spouses keep the process manageable, ensuring a fair and equitable outcome. With the right knowledge and guidance, a Florida divorce can see both spouses move forward in a positive direction.
To learn more about family law in Florida, talk to us at Dorsey Law JAX. We provide experienced, compassionate legal advice to individuals and families throughout the Jacksonville area. Contact us today.