West Palm Beach Property Division Attorney
During any marriage, both spouses acquire assets and debts that have to be divided upon divorce. Assets will include your home and any additional properties that may belong to you and your spouse, cars, boats, furniture, valuable collectibles, business interests, bank accounts, and investments. Any outstanding payments such as credit card balances, vehicle loans, mortgages, or personal loans are considered debts. The West Palm Beach property division attorneys at Bruce S. Rosenwater & Associates, P.A. have the skill required to accurately assess the marriage’s assets and debts and see that our client receives their fair split during the divorce.
How Is Property Divided in a Florida Divorce?
When it comes to property division, Florida is an “equitable distribution” state, which means the court decides what’s fair—regarding who gets what—and what’s fair may not always be a 50/50 split. The following factors will determine how your property and debts should be divided:
- The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including services as a homemaker and contributions to the care and education of the children
- The economic circumstances of the spouses
- The duration of the marriage
- Any interruption of personal careers or education opportunities of either spouse
- The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse
- The interest in retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other spouse
- The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets of the parties
- The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so
- The intentional waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the divorce petition or within two years prior to the filing of the divorce petition
- Any other factors found relevant to do equity and justice between the divorcing spouses
In some marriages, one spouse sacrifices their own earning potential to support their partner in a business venture or through advanced education. Other times one spouse stays home in the best interest of raising the children. All of these circumstances are considered when determining equitable distribution in a divorce. All assets and debts will be equitably split before any alimony decisions are considered by the court.
Non-Marital Property in Florida
Not all assets and debts are shared in a marriage and cannot be split up evenly during a divorce. Under Florida law, gifts, inheritances, personal injury compensation, and any assets acquired prior to marriage are considered sole property of the spouse who they originally belonged to. In addition, income from a non-marital asset may also be a non-marital asset. For instance, if you rent out a property you purchased prior to marriage and that rental income was never jointly relied upon, it may still be considered non-marital property in divorce proceedings. It is important to have a knowledgeable property division attorney to speak with during a divorce because you may be vulnerable to assets being split that should not be considered marital property in the first place. At times this will require going back to document how an item was purchased. If a new car was purchased with non-marital assets such as an inheritance, that car remains non-marital property as well.
Are Gifts and Inheritances Marital Property?
Some assets you may have brought into the marriage or acquired during your marriage are not considered marital property under Florida law and thus aren’t subject to property division—they belong to you alone. These assets may include gifts, inheritances, personal injury compensation, and any assets acquired by either spouse prior to the marriage, as well as all income derived from non-marital assets during the marriage (unless the income was treated, used, or relied upon by the spouses as a marital asset). If you use a non-marital asset, such as an inheritance, to buy something, such as a car, the asset purchased is also considered non-marital. If you believe you have non-marital assets that are vulnerable to property division, it is critical to seek the advice and representation of an experienced Florida property division attorney.
Contact a Property Division Attorney in West Palm Beach About Your Divorce
It is common to be concerned about how finances will be split during a divorce because it directly impacts your future. The best step you can take early in deciding to divorce is to speak with a knowledgeable West Palm Beach property division attorney at Bruce S. Rosenwater & Associates, P.A. We will negotiate on your behalf for a fair split of marital assets and ensure your non-marital assets are protected through the divorce so that you can walk away feeling prepared for what is next in your life. Call our offices at 561-688-0991 to schedule your free consultation today.