A Miami divorce lawyer commonly hears the question “What happens to my stuff when I get divorced?” Equitable distribution is the division of marital debts and assets during divorce. The word “equitable” doesn’t always mean equal in a Florida dissolution of marriage.
First, let’s define a marital asset or liability. These terms refer to property or debt acquired/incurred during the marriage, either solely by one spouse or jointly by both spouses. It’s important to note that title to an asset or debt does not control if that asset or debt will be marital - in the case of assets, it’s the timing of the purchase and the source of funds used to buy them, and in the case of debts, it’s the date the debt was incurred and for what purpose the debt was taken on.
When dividing property and debt between spouses, a divorce court in Miami must start with the foundation that the division should be equal. However, certain factors, listed as follows in section 61.075 of the Florida Statutes, allow a Florida divorce judge to make an unequal distribution:
(a) The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker.
(b) The economic circumstances of the parties.
(c) The duration of the marriage.
(d) Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
(e) The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
(f) The desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party.
(g) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets of the parties.
(h) The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so, it is in the best interest of the child or that party, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence until the child is emancipated or until exclusive possession is otherwise terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. In making this determination, the court shall first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, whether other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home.
(i) The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.
(j) Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
You may have questions about whether or not you qualify to receive an unequal distribution, and a Miami divorce lawyer at Streets Law is here to help starting with a consultation.