Dividing Marital Property
In a Florida divorce the old adage, "What's mine is yours," rings true. When you marry in Florida, what you bring with you is considered non-marital, but almost everything purchased or accumulated during the marriage is considered marital property. The Florida divorce and family law courts are instructed by Florida Statute 61.075 to equally divide marital assets and debts between the spouses. In most cases, the intent of the law is to give 50 percent to the Wife and 50 percent to the Husband. One party may take more debt, but also be given more in assets to equal it all out. The distribution of property can be challenging for spouses because there are items they may both want, or they may feel that what debt is in the other spouse's name is that spouse's debt. However, if it became debt during the marriage the name it is in does not typically mean that is where the debt will end up.
In some cases, the courts may deviate from the equal division of assets and debts, but there has to a substantial and proven reason why it should be unequally split. In cases where there is proof that one spouse used marital funds to have a relationship outside of the marriage, then the other spouse is entitled to recover 50 percent of what was used to further the relationship. For example, if Hank had an affair and spent $500 on his mistress, then Wilma is entitled to recover $250 from Hank. This may come out through a division of bank accounts, debts (Hank taking $250 more) or any other way that replenishes the funds to Wilma.
Equitable distribution may not seem fair to some individuals, but the fact remains that it was accumulated for the benefit of husband and wife and so it shall be divided equally.
Dividing Marital Property: Frequently Asked Questions
Is My Home a Marital Asset? (1/11/11)