June 5, 2013

What Do Florida's Equitable Distribution Laws Mean for My Divorce?

Florida Equal Distribution Law

Southeast Florida beach cities, such as Jupiter, Palm Beach, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale and more, are the ideal place for many people to live. Within a few minutes’ walk or just a few hours drive, an adventurer can find lakes, the ocean, the Everglades, theme parks and so much more. It is the perfect place to raise a family and enjoy life.

If, however, divorce enters the picture, much of the “good life” takes a back seat to figuring out how Florida's courts will settle a couple’s assets and debts. The rules governing Florida's division of property and debt during a dissolution of marriage are known as equitable distribution. Equitable meaning fair but not necessarily equal and distribution meaning given to each spouse. According to an article by Lisa Marie Vari, a Miami dissolution of marriage Lawyer, there are a number of steps that occur when ruling on equitable distribution issues during the Florida divorcing process.

  1. Discovery: The discovery process to identify assets and debts is used to find any hidden assets of a spouse in order to fairly settle the property. Both spouses' divorce attorneys usually request debt and asset information from the other. This can be done in a number of ways, including: written questions, document requests, or financial depositions. In some cases, document exchange may be required by Florida law or compelled by court order.                         Schedule a Personalized Divorce Assessment With an Attorney Today!
  2. Classification: All assets and debts found through discovery and those originally disclosed need to be classified as either marital or non-marital/separate property. In general, non-marital/separate property is anything that was brought into a marriage and has been kept separate, while marital property are assets and debts shared after marriage began.
  3. Asset and Debt Valuation: A positive bank balance or an auto loan debt is easy to value, but when more complicated items are involved, specific professionals may be asked to assist in valuation. For example, if the couple owns real estate together, it may be advised to consult a Florida real estate appraiser for an impartial analysis of its value.
  4. Planning: When divorcing, discuss with your financial analyst and/or attorney what you hope to achieve in the settlement. Is it fundamental as a mom to keep the house so the children can stay in the same school? Is it essential as a dad to continue running the day-to-day operations of the small business? Communicating this to your dissolution of marriage professional won't guarantee it will happen but not communicating it will most likely guarantee it won't.

With Florida's equitable distribution laws, it is important to have a seasoned legal professional guide you through the complicated process. 

 

Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding dissolution of marriage while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss divorcing in Florida, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A.The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. or call 561-478-0312.

Sources: 

AAVO

Divorcenet  

Florida Divorce

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