This isn’t a fun subject, but it is something that a lot of people have to address. . . Divorce. But more importantly, how items of possession are distributed when it is time to separate. The law changes from State to State, so it is good to know in advance exactly where you stand.

The distribution of property in a divorce in Florida is covered by Chapter 61 of the Florida Statutes. Rather than a community property state, such as California, Florida has adopted what is known as Equitable Distribution. Under the Equitable Distribution scheme, marital property is fairly divided between the parties.

An award by a judge of property to one spouse must be based upon “competent and substantial evidence” of the spouse’s right to that property, as presented by the lawyer for that spouse.

“Marital property includes such things as, by way of example, assets acquired jointly by the spouses during the marriage, the enhancement of value of a non-marital asset during the marriage due to the efforts of the other spouse, jointly titled personal property, a home titled as tenants by the entirety, a gift during the marriage from one spouse to another, and a joint bank account.

Discuss all options and advise with your own attorney.

As can be expected, much litigation occurs over the distribution of assets in a dissolution of marriage in Florida. 

A court will first award to each party their own non-marital property, such as property they had and retained prior to the marriage, and which did not become marital property. Non-marital property, however, can become marital property, when one party brings a home into the marriage and places the other party on the title to the home. A bank account owned prior to the marriage and maintained by only one party during the marriage, and not used for purposes related to the marriage or the other spouse, would likely retain its separate, non-marital classification.

“Like the distribution of assets, the court will also need to equitably distribute the marital debts of the parties. Marital debts include debts incurred during the marriage, or debts which were incurred by one spouse prior to the marriage but which were somehow ratified or adopted by the other spouse during the marriage.”