Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that in a divorce, property should be split fairly.
That doesn't mean assets will be split equally, however.
Instead, equitable division means that the two people who are divorcing can negotiate who gets what, and a judge can sign off on such an agreement. It is best if this is done through a collaborative process, but if the ex-partners can't come to a deal, it will be up to the courts to decide.
When courts are in charge of figuring out how to divide property equitably, they can consider all of the following:
- The length of the marriage
- The financial needs and earning potential of each party now and in the future
- The amount each party put into the combined marital property
- Which spouse has primary custody of the children
- The age and health of each party
- The value of any separate property one spouse might have
- Other financial obligations of either party, such as child support from a prior relationship
- Any negative actions of either spouse, such as an affair or domestic violence
It would be wonderful if you and your ex-spouse could sit across the table with photos of each asset and trade them like baseball cards. "I'll give you the plaid sofa and the end table for the 55-inch television," and you send the cards across the table. But, unfortunately, it doesn't work that way, or as smoothly.
That's why each party should have their own attorney representing them to make sure property division is, if not equal, equitable.