Florida Divorce: How Property is Divided

Divorce is seldom an amicable process and the second most contentious issue is the division of property. In Florida, the courts recognize two types of property – marital and non-marital. They’re divided differently than in other states, since there’s no community property law in Florida.

Marital property encompasses assets obtained during the marriage. Non-marital property includes assets that each individual had prior to the marriage. During a divorce, the court has the final say about what marital property goes to each individual. The division won’t necessarily be a 50-50 split, but it will be a division the court views as equitable.

Marital Property

Determining what is marital and non-marital property is a highly complex process. Property can’t be protected simply by maintaining it in one of the spouse’s name. If one spouse purchases something for themselves with their own money during the marriage, it’s still viewed as marital property.

Appreciation of an asset or business is also considered, along with joint funds that may have been used toward an individual’s pre-marriage property. Gifts are considered marital property and the court will typically divide the value equally, but it may mean the recipient won’t be able to retain ownership. Certain retirement benefits are also subject to division as marital property.

Non-Marital Property

Property acquired prior to a marriage is considered non-marital property, not viewed as part of the marital estate, and remains with the purchaser. Gifts and inheritances can be tricky territory, but they’re generally considered non-marital property, even if they were acquired during the marriage. Couples can also exclude property and assets by mutual agreement when a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is in force.

Difficult Decisions

It’s essential to have the representation of a lawyer experienced in divorce proceedings. In many situations, marital and non-marital assets have been combined or otherwise comingled such as bank accounts and bill paying, which can make divisions more complicated.

During a divorce, the court will also consider and divide any liabilities and debts the couple owes. It’s critical to have an experienced lawyer from the beginning. Once the court has rendered its decision, it will be almost impossible to have any aspect changed or modified.

Law Offices of Theodore H. Enfield, P.A.

Whether you need a Divorce, are dealing with Custody or Child Support issues, or need representation in a Personal Injury matter, the Law Offices of Theodore H. Enfield can confidently assist you.  To learn more about how we can help you or to discuss the facts of your case with our attorneys, call 954-983-1443 to schedule your free consultation.

3107 Stirling Road
Suite 105
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

Fax: 954-983-1536

Email: [email protected]

Will I have to Pay Alimony?

Dozens of misconceptions about alimony have grown up around the concept. Alimony is a court-ordered monetary award to a spouse or former spouse when a divorce or separation occurs. The payments are designed to provide financial support for a variety of situations, but there’s no guarantee that individuals will receive, or have to pay, alimony in Florida.

Alimony falls under family law and can be a highly complex and complicated matter. In Florida, there are no hard and fast rules governing alimony and it’s left up to the judge to decide. Alimony can be awarded to male or female spouses and the state allows for five types of alimony.

Temporary – It’s awarded to the spouse at the beginning of divorce proceedings and ends when the final divorce decree is entered.

Rehabilitation – This is utilized for training or education that enables the ex-spouse to provide for his/her financial needs.

Bridge the Gap – It’s a temporary form of alimony that lasts for a maximum of two years to help the ex-spouse get back on their feet.

Durational – Depending on the length of the marriage, if bridge the gap alimony doesn’t provide sufficient support, durational alimony may be awarded for up to 10 years to help meet needs.

Permanent – This is ongoing alimony that only stops if the ex-spouse dies, the individual has a “supporting relationship,” or the court orders it terminated.

A judge will consider a wide range of factors that include the ex-spouse’s financial assets, earning capacity and employability. The court also considers the length of the marriage, standard of living, and if adultery has occurred, along with child support responsibilities, and any relationships that aid in helping the ex-spouse support themselves.

The court has an extensive amount of discretion and latitude when deciding whether to award alimony, how much, and for what duration. It’s a complicated process and divorcing couples should never assume they’ll be recipients or have to pay alimony.

Law Offices of Theodore H. Enfield, P.A.

Whether you need a Divorce, are dealing with Custody or Child Support issues, or need representation in a Personal Injury matter, the Law Offices of Theodore H. Enfield can confidently assist you.  To learn more about how we can help you or to discuss the facts of your case with our attorneys, call 954-983-1443 to schedule your free consultation.

3107 Stirling Road
Suite 105
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312

Fax: 954-983-1536

Email: [email protected]

Divorce Do’s and Don’ts

No one says “I do” with the intention of divorcing down the road. Divorce can happen to anyone for any number of reasons. Sometimes two people know it’s over long before divorce proceedings are initiated. Other times, one party may be blind-sided. No matter what the internal struggles in the relationship, there are some definite do’s and don’ts in a divorce that applies to men and women. Continue reading

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