During a marriage, property and assets become a mingling of “his”, “hers”, and “ours”. In many cases, the process of determining who gets what becomes muddled as each spouse attempts to claim property and find a suitable way to divide assets. Dividing assets in a Florida divorce can be determined by the parties through a settlement agreement or by the Court in an evidentiary hearing.
- Contested – A contested divorce means that the couple cannot come to a mutual agreement about how to divide property and assets and therefore the decision falls to a judge. A judge will consider the desires and opinions of each spouse and will make a decision that falls within Florida’s equitable distribution laws. It is important to remember that “equitable” does not always translate into a 50/50 split. In many cases, extenuating circumstances may factor in. Such circumstances may include the presence of a prenuptial agreement, as well as the designation of property and assets as marital or individual.
- Uncontested – An uncontested divorce means that the couple is able to successfully agree on how to divide property and assets on their own with the help of attorneys, and that the matter will not be taken before a judge to decide. Uncontested divorce cases are less expensive and often resolve more quickly. The key to a successful uncontested divorce is full disclosure of all assets and debts by each spouse before decisions are made.
Dividing Assets in a Florida Divorce
While the process of dividing assets in a Florida divorce can seem daunting, there are several things Florida couples should consider to make the process easier to manage. Some helpful tips for dividing assets include:
- Remember that fair does not always mean equal. As mentioned above, Florida is an equitable distribution state, so in contested divorce cases, a judge will consider what assets were brought into the marriage, as well as those that were obtained during the marriage.
- Before filing for divorce, or early on in the process, make a list of all assets, property, and debts. Include in the list statements or copies of any financial accounts, mortgages, business information, collectibles (including an appraisal), vehicles, and outstanding debts.
- Even when tension runs high, always make an attempt to amicably resolve conflict. If you find that you cannot reach resolution, consider bringing in a financial planner who can work with you and your attorneys to find a peaceful solution. Do not settle for conflict.
- Remember the children. If you have children, consider how the division of property and assets will affect their well-being. Florida courts will consider the best interests of the children before the desires of the parents, so be mindful of this from the start to help you make wise decisions.
- Do not forget about forgotten assets like retirement accounts and life insurance policies. Many people forget about these financial factors because they seem far in the future. Even so, they are important considerations in divorce.
If you are thinking about or going through a divorce, do not wait to get the help you need. Contact the Law Offices of James S. Cunha, P.A. at (561) 429-3924 or via email at [email protected]. Our office represents clients throughout West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Wellington, Jupiter, Boca Raton, Ft. Lauderdale, Port St. Lucie and surrounding areas.