Fort Lauderdale Property Division Lawyer
Ensure a Fair Division of Property in Your Fort Lauderdale Divorce
Unless a couple can agree on how to divide up their shared property in a divorce, it’s up to the judge to decide what would be a fair division of the marital property. Florida judges are told to look at a variety of factors in determining the property division, and their information comes from the evidence, testimony and arguments presented to them by the parties through their attorneys.
Edward J. Jennings, P.A. is the law firm to help you with the property division in your Broward County divorce. We have the knowledge, skills and experience needed to make a strong case for the marital property that is most important to you, and to make sure the other side is playing fair with you and the court. Learn more below about how the division of property in a Florida divorce works, and contact our Fort Lauderdale property division lawyers to schedule a consultation, or for immediate assistance.
Florida Divorce Law Requires an Equitable Distribution of Marital Property
The Florida statute on property division in a divorce requires an equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities. Equitable means fair, reasonable, or evenhanded, but it does not necessarily mean equal. The law starts from the premise that the property should be divided equally, but it then lists ten factors as examples of reasons which could justify an unequal division of the marital property. These factors include:
- The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker.
- The economic circumstances of the parties.
- The duration of the marriage.
- Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
- The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
- 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.
- 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.
- The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage.
- 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.
- Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
The parties to a divorce may have different opinions about these factors, so it is important to have strong representation from an experienced family law litigator who can present evidence regarding these factors in a compelling way to the judge.
Marital Property Must be Located, Characterized and Valued Appropriately
Basically, marital property includes all assets and liabilities acquired or incurred during the marriage individually by either spouse or jointly. Nonmarital, or separate property, includes all assets and liabilities gained by either party before the marriage, as well as assets acquired by one spouse during the marriage through a gift or inheritance to that spouse individually. It is important to note that marital property includes assets as well as debts.
It is also important to know that separate property can become marital property, and vice versa. For instance, the couple can agree through a valid written agreement, such as a prenuptial or premarital agreement, that certain assets which might otherwise be marital property will be considered separate property belonging only to one party. Also, separate property can lose its separate character if it is commingled with marital property and treated as the assets (or debts) of the couple as a whole.
Locating and identifying every piece of marital property is essential to an equitable division of property. The family law attorneys at Edward J. Jennings, P.A. have the requisite skills and experience to disentangle complicated assets and debts and determine their proper character as marital or separate. If a spouse is hiding assets or underreporting income, we know how to uncover that as well.
Once identified, it is equally important that the asset be accurately valued. Our divorce lawyers are practiced in the proper evaluation methods for the most complicated property, including businesses and business interests, stock options, pension plans and more.
Get Effective Legal Help to Obtain Your Fair Share of the Marital Property in Your Divorce
For advice and representation regarding the property division in your Florida divorce, contact Edward J. Jennings, P.A. in Fort Lauderdale. We help clients throughout Broward County receive their fair share of the marital property, including specific property which is most important or most helpful to them.