If you are going through a divorce, one of your biggest logistical concerns will probably be the division of your property. Since couples tend to accumulate assets over the course of their relationship, the process of dividing those assets is often a complicated one. Each state has its own rules and regulations concerning property division and Florida is no exception. However, before you can reasonably consider how property will be divided, you must first understand the different types of property.
Types of property
The state of Florida, like most states across the nation, recognizes two main types of property; marital property and separate property.
· Marital property is composed of any assets that were acquired over the course of the marriage. This may include income, savings, real estate, etc. This also includes retirement savings, pensions, insurance plans and even debts, which are also divided when a marriage is dissolved.
· Separate property is essentially everything that is not proven to be marital property. This includes assets that individuals possessed prior to becoming married, income gained by means of separate property and items that were purchased with or exchanged for separate property. It also includes assets that were acquired during the marriage, but were legally specified in a written document to only belong to one party.
· There are also some situations in which property can be considered both marital and separate. This can be done intentionally or accidentally. This type of property (sometimes called commingled property) is generally separate property whose value has been increased due to contribution from a spouse. This includes real estate that was owned by one party, but both parties made payments, or separate bank accounts into which the other spouse made deposits.
The guiding principle of property division in Florida is equity. It is important to understand that equitable separation is not necessarily equal separation and while an equitable division might mean a 50/50 split, it also may not. The important thing is that the court believes the division to be fair. The value of the involved property must be determined. Sometimes a couple will hire a professional appraiser to do this for them. The court then divides the property in the most equitable fashion it can manage.
There are many, many factors that contribute to a court’s decisions regarding property division. The state of Florida has a website that has the actual statutes and regulations available. However, this process is usually a very complicated one even if the divorce is amicable. If you are going through a divorce or are considering doing so, it is recommended that you seek out the assistance of a knowledgeable legal professional.