Property division is often one of the most contentious issues in a Florida divorce-particularly when significant assets are involved.
Many people assume that assets are divided equally among the divorcing parties. The husband gets the vacation home; the wife gets the stock portfolio.
But equitable distribution does not mean property is divvied up 50/50. Here's what it does mean.
The state of Florida, and many other states, utilizes the doctrine of equitable distribution when dividing marital property (property acquired during a marriage with funds or labor) in a divorce.
Anything from real estate to stock options to jewelry can be included in the marital estate. Rather than dividing property equally, assets are divided "fairly."
Courts look at a wide variety of factors to determine what's fair. The duration of the marriage and the party tasked with handling the childcare responsibilities are a couple of examples.
But every situation is different. Maybe one spouse has a significant health condition that precludes him or her from earning future wages after the divorce. Maybe the couple possesses a family heirloom that may constitute nonmarital property that falls outside of the estate.
The outcome will always depend on individual circumstances. Those looking for answers to their specific situation are encouraged to consult with a family law attorney knowledgeable in handling complex asset division.