Eventually, Fort Lauderdale residents who are going through the divorce process will get to the phase where they divide up their marital property. This, along with custody issues, is often the most contentious part of the divorce process. Below is some information they should know about dividing marital assets.
The state of Florida follows rules of equitable distribution regarding property division, which basically means that everything is fairly divided between the couple. It should be noted that fairly does not necessarily mean equally, and there are several factors that come into play. Some of those include the length of the marriage, both spouse's earning power and who specifically earned the property in question.
Examples of marital property to be divided can be the family home, vehicles, wages earned throughout the marriage and any additional property that may have been purchased. This applies whether both spouses worked or whether one was a homemaker.
Nonmarital property includes anything owned by either party prior to marriage, inheritances and gifts to one spouse. There is a caveat regarding money that has been inherited or gifted -- if the recipient spouse commingles the money in a joint account owned by the couple, it can then be considered marital property that is subject to division. To prevent this from occurring if one spouse receives a gift or inheritance, it should be deposited into a separate account.
It's a good idea for couples to come to an agreement themselves over the disposition of marital property if possible. However, to make sure that they are getting the most lucrative deal possible for themselves, both should consult with a Florida family law attorney before signing off on any agreements.
Source: FindLaw, "The FindLaw Guide to Divorce and Property Division" Aug. 30, 2014