Equitable Distribution in the State of Florida

In the State of Florida, the property and debt distribution issues that arise during a divorce are usually settled between spouses in their marital settlement agreement. However, when a couple cannot agree on the distribution of debts and property, a Florida court may need to divide their assets according to state law. Like many other states, Florida upholds an equitable distribution law when a couple is seeking divorce. According to Statute 61.075, all marital assets and liabilities between parties shall be distributed equally, unless a party can justify that said equal distribution is, in fact, unequal and unjustified. A Florida resident may argue the equal division of debts and property law if they have contributed more to the marriage and/or family, if they make less money than the other spouse, if the marriage only lasted for a certain amount of time, or if their career or educational opportunities were halted or interrupted due to the marriage.

A spouse may argue that the equal distribution process is unfair if they wish to retain an asset without any claim or interference by the other spouse, or if they made more or less of a contribution to the enhancement, production, and acquisition of income or the incurring of liabilities to marital and non-marital assets. Florida courts may also decide to unequally divide property if a spouse wishes to retain the home the couple purchased when they were married to house a dependent child of the marriage. The court can allow a spouse to keep a home when it is in the best interest of a child or that party and is financially plausible for both parties to maintain the residence until the child is of legal age. If a spouse has proof that the other spouse is going to intentionally dissipate, waste, deplete, or destroy marital assets after filing the petition, or two years prior to filing the petition, the court also choose to unequally divide assets and properties.

The court takes each party’s financial situations into account prior to the equitable distribution process. While spouses have the right to ask for unequal division of certain assets, the court, by default, believes that any asset acquired during the marriage should be equally distributed among both parties. The Florida equitable distribution law is somewhat difficult to understand, and the entire process can be overwhelming for some couples. If you are seeking a divorce and need help with the equitable distribution process, please contact our Winter Springs divorce lawyer at John M. Iriye P.A.