Orlando Property Division Lawyer Near You
Divorce property division can be a tricky and frustrating aspect of Florida divorce laws, especially if you have acquired significant assets (such as those in high-asset divorce cases) and/or debt throughout your marriage. It’s not only the big things, like your home or business, that are difficult to divvy up—smaller household items aren’t necessarily easy to divide either. In some Florida divorce property division cases, couples can agree on who will get what property, while others seek the help of a mediator to negotiate a settlement. Others won’t be able to resolve divorce property division issues outside of court and seek the help of a property division attorney and will put the matter in a judge’s hands. However your property division needs to be handled, a skilled property division lawyer near you from The Law Offices of Sean Smallwood, P.A. can help.
Is Florida A 50/50 Divorce State?
If you are going through a divorce, you might be wondering, “Is Florida a 50-50 divorce state?” According to Florida divorce laws, Florida does not automatically award 50% of marital assets. Divorce property division was not instilled to leave one spouse high and dry, and is more often referred to as equitable distribution in a divorce.
In Florida, divorce property division operates under the principle of equitable distribution for marital assets (and debts), meaning property acquired during the marriage is typically divided equally between spouses. However, this doesn’t necessarily imply a literal 50-50 split of marital property; rather, the goal is a fair and just division.
For example, if a couple jointly owns a home in Florida that was purchased during their marriage, it falls under marital property and is subject to being split equally between them in the event of a divorce. Splitting a house in a divorce in Florida can be done in several ways:
- Preference and Willingness – Courts often consider which spouse has a stronger desire to keep the house and who might be willing to move out. This willingness can influence the division process if mediation is not successful.
- Agreement to Sell – If both parties agree to sell the house as part of the divorce settlement (or in cases of uncontested divorce), the proceeds can be divided between them. This is the most straightforward way to resolve splitting a home during a divorce.
- Desire to Keep the House – If one party wishes to keep the house, they must consider if they can afford the mortgage and upkeep on their own. This might involve calculating whether they need alimony or other financial support to afford the mortgage and maintain the home post-divorce. However, it’s very important to note that simply because a party wants to keep the home, but can’t afford it does not imply that they will automatically receive alimony to keep the home.
Ultimately, the fate of the house in a Florida divorce hinges on various factors: the desires of both spouses, their financial capabilities, and the willingness to negotiate or reach agreements in mediation. The goal is to ensure a fair resolution that considers both parties’ needs and circumstances.
Florida Divorce Laws & Equitable Distribution of Marital Assets
In Florida, assets or debts can fall under two categories which are “marital property” and “non-marital property”. The main difference between marital and non-marital property is when the asset or debt was acquired, either before or during the marriage.
According to Florida divorce laws, any asset or debt acquired during the marriage is considered marital property and can be divided with your former spouse. Conversely, any asset or debt that you or the spouse acquired before the marriage is considered non-marital property and is not subject to divorce property division.
With equitable distribution, the court begins with the presumption that all marital assets and debts are to be divided equally (50% each); however, the court may distribute the marital estate in a manner it decides is fair and equitable—so, not necessarily equally, and it does not matter how title is held. In making this determination, the court will consider:
- The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as a homemaker
- The economic circumstances of the spouses
- The duration of the marriage
- Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either spouse
- The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse
- The desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a marital 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 spouses
- The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child(ren) of the marriage
- The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the divorce petition or within two years prior to the filing of the petition
For an annulment in Florida, there is no property division, since the marriage is void. While you may work out a divorce property division agreement outside the courtroom—many divorcing couples do—the factors courts use in dividing property can affect the strength of your bargaining position. An experienced property division attorney in Orlando with a thorough understanding of Florida divorce laws can help you present your strongest case for the assets you want to keep.
Is Florida A Community Property State?
Florida divorce laws on property division operate under the premise of equitable distribution rather than the community property system. Operating under equitable distribution laws significantly impacts how property, especially jointly owned homes, is handled during Florida divorce proceedings. While Florida law recognizes the concept of separate property, which is classified as assets owned solely by one spouse before marriage or acquired individually during the marriage, any property held solely by either spouse will not be considered in the divorce process. Consequently, it will not be distributed equally as part of the marital estate in a divorce, offering a layer of protection from being claimed by creditors of the non-owner spouse.
Regarding jointly owned homes, Florida’s non-community property status implies that the property itself may be classified as marital property if acquired during the marriage, and both persons live in the home, even if it’s titled under one spouse’s name. This can affect how the home is divided during divorce mediation or court proceedings. If the house was purchased during the marriage using funds from one spouse’s separate property, it may still be subject to equitable distribution, especially if contributions or improvements were made using marital funds during the marriage.
However, the separation between separate and marital property provides some assurance regarding ownership of assets obtained before the marriage or as individual acquisitions during the marriage. While equitable distribution aims for fairness in dividing assets and debts, the classification of property can significantly influence the outcome, particularly in scenarios involving jointly owned homes where the nuances of contributions, ownership, and asset appreciation during the marriage play pivotal roles in the division process.
Wondering If Your Home Is Subject To Equitable Distribution In Your Divorce?
If you’re uncertain about how your home or other assets might be affected by equitable distribution in your divorce, seeking guidance from a seasoned property division lawyer near you, such as Sean Smallwood, P.A., is crucial. Our knowledgeable Orlando divorce lawyers can provide clarity and insight into the intricate aspects of Florida divorce laws, are help you navigate the process with the Orange County Clerk of Courts, offering tailored guidance to navigate the complexities of property division. Don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance in understanding your rights and ensuring a fair resolution to your divorce during this challenging time.
Speak with a Knowledgeable Property Division Attorney in Orlando
If you need help with divorce property division during the divorce process, please contact The Law Offices of Sean Smallwood, P.A. in Orlando. Protecting your interests and assets now will put you in the best position to make a fresh start when your divorce is final whether in a uncontested or contested divorce proceeding.
What Our Clients Have To Say About Our Property Division Lawyers Near You
“I’ve used Sean for my case in 2015-2016 and again in 2017-2020. My recent case made it to trial and Sean was very prepared and touched on all the strong points needed to ensure we had a successful trial. I am more than satisfied with Sean and his team and if it weren’t for them, I don’t think my case would’ve had such a great outcome.”
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