Marital Property Division: Protecting Your Assets
Going through a divorce is a difficult process. In even the simplest cases, the dissolution of a marriage often involves many raw feelings and emotions, and it is not uncommon to feel what can be an overwhelming sense of loss. In cases involving children or where there are property and assets at stake, tensions can run high, as each party fights to make sure their rights are defended and that they get the kind of settlement they want. If you are going through a divorce, it is likely you have questions concerning marital property division, and how the process will unfold in your particular case. Understanding exactly what marital property is and how the court will divide this property can go a long way towards giving you peace of mind through the divorce process.
Marital and Nonmarital Property
Once you are married, your property and assets fall into two general categories: marital and nonmarital assets. When you begin the process of divorce, the distinctions between these two types of properties becomes very important. Under the Florida State Statutes, Section 61.075, marital property in divorce proceedings includes any asset acquired either by both parties together or individually by one party during the marriage, such as the following:
- Gifts given to each other;
- Retirement benefits, pension funds, and insurance plans;
- Annuities, deferred compensation, and profit sharing plans
- Any homes, land, and rental property;
- Cars, trucks, boats, and recreational equipment;
- Furniture and household items; and/or
- Checking and savings accounts.
Basically anything purchased from the date of the marriage until the date the divorce paperwork was filed can be considered marital property. Items that would not be considered marital property include inheritances, gifts specifically to you from other people, such as family members or friends, and any type of real estate, goods, or personal property that you acquired prior to getting married.
Division of Marital Property
When filing for a divorce, you will be required to submit a financial affidavit, outlining both your assets as well as your liabilities. When making a decision regarding the division of marital property in your divorce, the judge in your case will use this affidavit with the goal of achieving a fair and equitable division of property. Factors the judge will consider include:
- The total value of all assets in the marriage;
- The total amount of any marital debt;
- The existence of any children of the marriage;
- Any custody arrangements that have been agreed upon for the children;
- Tax ramifications of any potential settlement; and
- The existence of marital misconduct as a factor in the divorce.
If you have committed any type of marital misconduct that is cited as a contributing factor in the divorce paperwork, it will likely not work in your favor when it comes time to divide marital property. Additionally, a judge will consider the primary caregiver for any children of the marriage when making a decision about who will remain in the family home. Often the custodial parent will be permitted to remain in the home, if it is determined to be in the best interest of the children.
Contact Our Experienced Florida Divorce Lawyer
If you have concerns about marital property and how that property will be divided in the event of a divorce, contact an experienced Florida family law lawyer. At the Law Firm of William E. Raikes III, our lawyers and staff understand the serious concerns you may have regarding your hard earned assets. We can guide through the process, and assist you in getting the marital settlement you deserve. We provide comprehensive legal service, while protecting your rights and looking out for your best interests. Serving the entire Fort Pierce, Port Saint Lucie, Vero Beach, Saint Lucie, and Indian River Counties, our office can help you today.