Considering a divorce can bring up a lot of questions, even if you know that it’s probably the right decision for your family. Divorce is an uncertain time, when it’s hard to predict what the future will bring. After all, every divorce is unique. The outcome will reflect a number of unique elements about your family, including the number of family members/children, the length of the marriage and the amount of assets you’ve acquired.
If you don’t have a prenuptial agreement on record and you also can’t reach amicable terms for an uncontested divorce with your ex, it’s hard to know what to expect. The more assets you have, the more uncertainty there can be. Don’t listen to the horror stories you read online, and don’t assume that what happened to your friend will also happen to you. Take a moment to educate yourself about how Florida courts handle the asset division process. It will help you understand what will likely occur in your own divorce.
Florida courts strive for an equitable asset division outcome
Florida is one of a majority of states that does its best to divide assets between spouses in a manner that is fair and equitable. Fair and equitable isn’t a fancy way of saying a 50/50 split. Instead, it’s a standard that will guide your judge when he or she reviews your familial situation and inventory of assets and debts.
Factors like the importance of individual assets to each spouse, the contributions of each spouse to the marriage (including unpaid contributions in the home), the length of the marriage, and the economic circumstances and earning potential of each spouse. The judge will consider all of this, but typically not marital misconduct, when allocating the assets and debts from your marriage.
Any marital property is usually subject to division by the courts
As part of your divorce, you will provide the courts with a list of your possessions, assets and debts from the marriage. Anything you acquire during your marriage is likely marital property, meaning that each spouse has an interest in the asset or debt, regardless of who made the money, deposited funds into an account or made a purchase.
Typically, assets you owned from before the marriage will remain your separate property and won’t end up divided. Gifts and inheritances are also commonly separate property, although commingling these assets with your marital assets could mean your spouse has a reasonable claim to them.
Your home, your retirement account (or at least the amount accrued during marriage), and even your credit card debts will all likely end up divided between you and your ex. The exact terms of that division, however, will vary substantially from case to case.