If you are planning to divorce, your financial future is likely at the top of your list of concerns. You may wonder how a judge might divide your property and whether you will have enough to support yourself and your children after the split.
As in many other U.S. states, in Florida, the family law courts follow the rule of “equitable distribution.” Rather than dividing property 50/50, you or your spouse may receive a larger share depending on your specific family’s circumstances.
What is equitable distribution?
Under Florida law, most types of assets that you or your spouse acquired after your marriage automatically became shared property. During your divorce, this shared marital property is subject to equitable distribution by the court. Instead of dividing assets equally, the judge will try to distribute property in a way that is fair to your both while also providing for the best interests of your children.
How does the court decide what is “equitable”?
There are many factors the court looks at when trying to divide property equitably. In addition to the length of your marriage and your individual incomes, the judge may consider the following:
- Your respective educational and career backgrounds
- Your child custody arrangements after divorce
- Your separate financial resources, in addition to job income
- Your respective contributions as a childcare provider and homemaker
It is also important to know that you may be able to avoid splitting assets that you have kept separate from marital property: for example, personal inheritances, personal gifts or assets that you acquired before you married.