Divorce is never an easy process, as two spouses essentially have to untangle their lives both emotionally and financially. This can be challenging whether you have been married for five years or 50 years.
Fortunately, just because you are going through divorce in Florida does not mean you and your spouse have to duplicate the rancorous battles you may see on TV. The simplest way of dealing with divorce — particularly asset distribution — is to figure out how to split assets between yourselves.
If you and your spouse can complete informal negotiations, you may be able to reach a settlement regarding the division of your assets without further court intrusion. These assets may include the following:
- Marital home
- Vacation home
- Timeshare property
- Investment property
- Family-owned business
- Military benefits
- 401(k) accounts and other retirement accounts
- Stocks and bonds
- Jewelry collections
- Art collections
Relying on a judge
Unfortunately, most couples are unable to determine in an amicable way how to split their property, so their matters typically end up in court.
Because Florida is an equitable distribution state, a judge will decide what he or she feels is fair instead of simply dividing a couple’s property in two — or down the middle. Thus, this might mean that 66 percent of your and your spouse’s property might go to the spouse who earns the most money, while the remaining 33 percent goes to the one who earns less. This is opposite of what happens in a community property state, where marital property is divided evenly between the two spouses.
When the court divides property, this does not mean physically splitting the property. Instead, the court will calculate the total value of your marital estate and then grant each of you a percentage.
Unfortunately, if a judge in Florida has to decide how to split a couple’s property, the judge’s final decisions may not be in accordance with what one or both spouses would have wanted. Whether you and your spouse are able to resolve your asset distribution issues through informal negotiations or end up having to go to trial, you have the right to pursue the most personally beneficial outcome possible, considering the circumstances surrounding your case.