a man and woman in distress

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the 2019-2021 divorce rate in Florida was 3.4 divorces per 1,000 people, making it a contender for one of the highest divorce rates. Not all marriages are made to last, as getting a divorce with your partner is very commonplace nowadays. Divorces can be messy and tense, oftentimes raising the question, “who gets what?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question is not all that straightforward. Let’s break down a few ways in which property is divided when getting a divorce in Florida.

Prenuptial Agreements

One way in which property is divided up in divorce is through a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a contract that two individuals enter into prior to marriage. The contract outlines the specifics regarding how assets and responsibilities will be divided up in the event of a divorce. It is generally perceived to be a fair way of property distribution, however, people often have a preconceived notion that entering into a prenuptial agreement is a precursor to distrust. While everyone has specific reasons as to why or why not they might want to create a prenuptial agreement, it is generally encouraged for wealthy individuals to enter one in order to protect their bountiful assets. Regardless of your financial situation, a prenuptial agreement can decrease the stress of figuring out asset distribution in the event of a divorce. 

Marital Property

Determining what is and isn’t martial property is an important part of any divorce. Marital property is any asset that the couple obtained while they were married. This may include a house, car, life insurance, furniture, 401K plan, and more. Any asset that is considered marital property will be up for grabs to either couple following a divorce, as the assets are not exclusively owned by either spouse.

Non-Marital Property

On the other hand, non-marital property includes any assets or liabilities that were owned prior to marriage and remained individually owned throughout the duration of the marriage. Non-marital property can also include inheritances during the marriage to one of the spouses, as well as gifts that were given from one spouse to the other.

Commingled Property

Things get a bit more complicated when commingled property comes into play. Commingled property includes assets or debts that were previously non-marital property but became marital property. An example of this would be a car payment that the other spouse helps to pay off, making the asset partially owned by each individual. 

Equitable Distribution in Florida

To decipher who gets what property in a divorce, Florida has put in place an equitable distribution law that helps to equitably distribute property between the divorced couple. This law states that assets and liabilities must be divided equally, however, it is subject to discretion as there are several external factors that determine what is “equitable.” Unfortunately, equitable does not always mean equal.

Child Custody

In addition to distributing property during a divorce, the responsibility of raising your children and child custody also come into play. In Florida, the court is in favor of having both parents continue to share the responsibility of raising their children, if possible. In some circumstances, however, the court may determine it is in the best interest of the child to remain the responsibility of just one of the spouses. This may occur in the event that one of the spouses exhibits irresponsible behavior or is struggling mentally with something such as addiction. 

Seek Legal Guidance

If you decide to file for a divorce, it is advised to seek legal support from an experienced Florida family law lawyer who knows the ins and out of prenuptial agreements, divorce laws, and property division. Getting the help of a legal expert can help ensure that your property is distributed equally and in accordance with Florida legislation.

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