Tampa Divorce Attorney
Florida Community Property and Marital Assets. According to laws, ‘community properties’ are marital properties that are acquired as a part of the marriage. These properties are seen as owned by both parties. What this means is that the community property will be divided between both spouses at the time of divorce, irrespective of whether one or both spouses purchased part or most of the asset. However, community property related family laws in Florida assert equitable distribution, and this is different from the laws in many other states.
What Constitutes As Marital Property?
According to Florida laws, marital property includes debts and assets that either of the spouse has acquired while they were in the marriage. It doesn’t make a difference if the property is held jointly or by just one of the spouses. Unless it is states otherwise in a valid legal agreement these are the accepted standards per Florida laws. Properties that are separate or non-marital cannot be subjected to division during divorce. These assets include:
- Assets obtained or defined as “separate property” in a valid legal agreement
- Items that have been purchased or exchanged by means of separate property
- Income obtained from separate property
Any increase in the overall value of an asset during the course of the marriage is also treated as marital property. If one party claims that only a part of the asset is separate and the rest is marital, the value would have to be traced back using financial records. As these calculations and situations can prove to be complex, it is advisable to seek the help of attorneys.
Equitable distribution is typically looked at as an equal distribution of the assets between both the spouses, but need not always translate to that. Florida is not considered as a community property state. In community property states, assets obtained during marriage are nearly always split equally between the partners. Despite the fact that Florida practices an equitable property distribution, it is up to the court to split the properties equally. This property distribution excludes assets that are acquired prior to marriage; those obtained as gifts, and inherited properties.
Factors Affecting Marital Property Distribution
Judges handling family law cases pertaining to community properties may weigh the factors below to arrive at a fair equitable distribution between the involved parties:
- The marriage duration
- The financial condition of the both the parties
- Contributions made by each of the parties that includes providing for the children’s education and care
- If one of the spouses helped the other with educational opportunities or career
- Contributions made by the spouse to the finances of the family, that includes income, incurred liabilities, acquisition of assets
- Intentionally disposing or demolishing a marital asset while married or following separation
- An intention to retain the current home in the best interests of the children
Having a family lawyer who understands the situation is key in preserving your interests and rights. They can handle the case optimally so you get your rightfully deserved share of property during divorce.
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