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Tampa Family Lawyer > Blog > Family > What Is Equitable Distribution In A Florida Divorce?

What Is Equitable Distribution In A Florida Divorce?


Equitable distribution refers to the way in which assets are divided in a Florida divorce. Some states are considered community property states. In these states, assets are divided 50/50 no matter what. In equitable distribution states, assets are divided in a way that is equitable to both partners. This means that assets may not be divided 50/50. In this article, the Tampa, FL divorce lawyers at Faulkner Law Group, PLLC will discuss equitable distribution and how it works in a Florida divorce.

The marital estate: Marital assets versus non-marital assets 

Marital assets refer to any asset that was acquired during the marriage except for gifts received due to inheritance. Non-marital assets are assets that were acquired before the marriage occurred or after the divorce was filed. These assets are not a part of the marital estate and are thus not subject to equitable distribution.

As an example, let’s assume a husband purchases a car during the marriage. The title of the car and the loan are both in the husband’s name. The wife would still be entitled to some portion of the value of the car and responsible for some portion of the loan. During the divorce settlement process, the husband can negotiate to keep the entire vehicle and be responsible for the remainder of the loan.

Non-marital assets are those purchased before or after the marriage. They belong only to one spouse. As an example, let’s say a spouse purchased a home before the marriage. Even if the title was amended to include both spouses, the home is still considered property of one spouse—not both.

Equitable distribution isn’t always 50/50 

In Florida, the courts will default on dividing the marital estate in half and disbursing it to both parties evenly. However, 50/50 is only a starting point. If one spouse makes significantly more money than the other, the courts will consider awarding the spouse with less earning power a greater share of the marital estate.

Factors that the court will consider include the length of the marriage, the economic situation of both spouses, each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, and more. The judge will require a valid reason not to divide the marital estate 50/50.

Is my business considered marital property? 

This is often where things get complicated. If you began the business before the marriage, then the business would not be considered marital property. However, if the business accrued value during the marriage, then the accrued value can be considered marital property. This depends entirely on whether or not the business accrued significant value during the marriage. If it did, then an appraiser can come in to determine the value of the business before and after the marriage.

Talk to a Tampa, FL Divorce Lawyer Today 

Faulkner Law Group, PLLC represents the interests of Tampa residents who are pursuing a divorce. Call our Tampa family lawyers today to schedule an appointment, and we can address any concerns you may have.

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