Key Concepts In Divorce: What Is Equitable Distribution
Basically, states operate on two different modalities when it comes to the distribution of assets. Those are community property states and equitable distribution states. In community property states all assets are divided 50/50. In equitable distribution states, the court determines what would be equitable for both parties.
The major difference is that the courts in equitable distribution states ensure that a party who is not a primary breadwinner gets enough assets to continue their standard of living. Because of this, the division may not be 50/50. More assets may go to the party who does not primarily earn for the household because their earning power is assumed to be lower. In a community property state, that wouldn’t matter. Equitable distribution states complicate the process of the division of marital assets, but ensure that both parties walk away with a deal that is fair (in theory).
Florida is an equitable distribution state
Florida is an equitable distribution state which means property is divided in a manner that is equitable to both parties. However, specifically, equitable distribution states ensure that a party who is not a primary breadwinner is left out in the cold financially. It is further assumed that the party who does not earn as much should be able to continue the standard of living they enjoyed while in the marriage. This makes divorce a lot harder to use as a battering stick to force a non-earning party to stay in the marriage.
Florida rules concerning equitable distribution
To understand how the process of property division works, you should familiarize yourself with the following concepts:
- The marital estate – The marital estate is any property acquired during the marriage that is not an inheritance or gift. Property acquired before the marriage may have accrued value during the marriage. The initial value of the property would belong to the spouse. However, the accrued value would belong to the marriage. Hence why asset evaluation is so important to divorce cases.
- Factors the court considers – The court will consider the length of the marriage, the earning power of both spouses, and the likelihood that one spouse will be left destitute by the divorce. The court also considers the contribution of both spouses to the marriage, and while Florida operates on a no-fault system when it comes to divorce, those who betray the marriage vows can have that fact considered against them.
- 50/50 splits – The court has the right to consider equitable distribution, but will default on a 50/50 split of the marital estate when a 50/50 split is equitable enough. In other words, a spouse would have to argue that a 50/50 split was not equitable for the court to consider a different means of divesting the estate.
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Faulkner Law Group, PLLC represents the interests of Tampa residents who are initiating a divorce. Call our Tampa divorce lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can begin writing the next chapter of your life together.