Equitable Distribution in a Divorce
In Florida and many other states, a divorcing couple’s marital assets are divided according to the doctrine of equitable distribution. In states that do not use equitable distribution, a method known as community property is used.
When property is divided according to equitable distribution, it is not necessarily divided equally between the partners. Rather, it is divided equitably, which means that each partner gets a fair cut of the marital estate according to his or her personal and financial needs after the divorce. The best way for you to prepare for your property division is to learn about how courts apply the doctrine of equitable distribution to a marital estate and come up with a few realistic potential breakdowns of yours with your lawyer.
Factors Considered to Determine an Appropriate Distribution
The court has the discretion to determine how heavily to consider each of the factors listed in Florida’s equitable distribution law when dividing a couple’s assets. These factors include, but are not limited to:
- The length of the couple’s marriage;
- Whether either spouse left the workforce or compromised his or her earning capacity for the benefit of the couple and their family;
- Whether either party has a strong preference for keeping the marital home and the practical application of retaining the home, such as keeping the couple’s child in the same house after the divorce so he or she does not have to move or change schools;
- Both partners’ income and personal assets;
- Both partners’ interest in retaining certain assets, such as continuing to operate a small business the couple opened during their marriage;
- Whether either party intentionally squandered or destroyed marital assets in an effort to spite the other or if he or she used marital assets to fund an extramarital affair; and
- Each partner’s economic and noneconomic contributions to the marriage and the couple’s family, such as working to support the family and promoting the couple’s children’s education.
Examples of Equitable Distribution Settlements
With equitable distribution, the court and the couple also have to think ahead about their financial future. Large assets like real estate and retirement accounts have tax burdens, and these tax burdens must be considered during the distribution of the couple’s assets. Other factors that can come into play are the couple’s timesharing arrangement for their children and each partner’s age and health needs.
In a settlement where one partner retains the marital home, he or she may “buy out” the other’s interest in it by paying the other spouse for his or her share of its value or having the other spouse take an equivalent amount from the couple’s savings. When one partner takes a larger cut of the couple’s investment portfolio, the other may retain a larger portion of the couple’s retirement account.
Draper Law Office can Represent you Through your Divorce
Contact our team of experienced divorce lawyers at Draper Law Office today by visiting our firm online or calling us at 866-767-4711 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation in our office. We are here to make the divorce process easier for you by answering your questions and representing you through the process.