In a perfect world, property division during divorces would run straight down the middle. In other words, anything either spouse brought into the marriage would remain their individual property. Additionally, anything that both parties acquired together while married would be sold and the money divided between the spouses evenly.
In theory that sounds like a great practice. But consider the fairness of forcing a spouse to liquidate a business they have spent years growing. What about the forced sell of a family pet? When seen from that perspective it becomes easier to understand why Florida currently recognizes “equitable distribution” as a more just way to dispose of marital property during a divorce. This means that Florida courts will also consider the fairness of any property division rather than focusing solely on creating some kind of 50-50 split.
This is important for you know because Florida courts generally would rather stay out of the disposal of your marital wealth during your divorce. However, courts retain considerable authority regarding how those assets and property should be assigned if you and your spouse are unable to reach some type of settlement. The determinations of the court may, or may not be favorable to your specific situation.
In a previous blog entry we wrote about a wealthy couple who shared a marital estate valued at over $18 billion. In that case a wife rebuked her husband’s offer to pay her $975 million as a settlement of her claims to their marital property. It was the wife’s opinion that she was entitled to a much larger portion of their marital estate.
There are a few things you should know if you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse have acquired some property and valuable items over the course of your marriage. Just because Florida is an equitable distribution state that doesn’t always mean that your portion will always be equal in value. That’s why having an attorney represent you in settlement negotiations can be valuable. For example, your attorney can enlist financial specialists to help you get a clearer picture of the true value of your marital estate. That way you can get what is rightfully yours.
From our law offices in Miami, we provide experienced property division representation for clients throughout South Florida. Prospective clients should know that we do not charge a fee for our initial consultations.