Property Distribution in Divorce
With decades of combined experience, the legal team of Alba & Straile PLLC has the experience and knowledge necessary to represent you throughout the process of divorce. Ensuring that both property and assets are appropriately distributed is essential to obtain closure and finality following a divorce. Our law office makes every effort to tailor our representation to suit your needs. We recognize the complexity of property division and focus on achieving fair and equitable distribution for our clients. Examples of property distribution cases are the distribution of closely held businesses, high-value marital estates, intangible assets, business assets, and marital versus non-marital assets.
During dissolution of marriage, a couple’s marital assets and liabilities are divided. Marital assets are defined as the total of all property acquired throughout marriage and not inherited or given as a gift to one party by a third party. Liabilities are debt incurred during the marriage unless a spouse forges or uses an unauthorized signature of the other spouse.
Examples of Assets include:
- Real estate
- Stocks, bonds, pensions
- Cash and savings accounts
Examples of Liabilities include:
- Loans (school, car, private)
- Unpaid bills (credit cards, medical bills, department stores)
- Debts owed to family members
In Florida, property owned before marriage by either spouse is classified as non-marital property and is exempt from division. As long as the non-marital property is kept separate during the marriage and not mixed with marital property, it is excluded during an equitable distribution or property division proceeding.
What is an Equitable Distribution?
In an equitable distribution process, a court divides marital property between spouses as it deems fair. Distribution is based on a set of considerations intended to measure the financial standing of each spouse following the divorce. For this reason, the division of property is not simply split in half. Instead, judges weigh each consideration subjectively based on each case. Therefore, division outcomes can be challenging to predict from case to case.
Considerations for equitable distribution are:
- Earning power of the spouses
- Non-marital property of each spouse
- Contributions to marital property
- The value of a spouse who contributed as the family home-maker
- Wasting or dissipation of marital property by a spouse
- Duration of the marriage
- Age and relative health of the spouses
- The responsibility for providing for children of the marriage
- Marital Debt and assets
Essentially, marriage is an economic contract between two people. During a marriage, spouses are linked by both resources and debts. Consequently, during a divorce, debts incurred are also divided. Loans, mortgages, or credit cards opened during the marriage are liabilities to be divided. Generally, debts incurred by one spouse before marriage remain the responsibility of that spouse. They are considered a separate or non-marital liability and not included with the combined debt.
Consulting a Forensic Accountant
The law office of Alba & Straile PLLC encourages our clients to be well informed and to have a sound understanding of their financial footing. In addition to consulting our experienced property distribution attorneys, our practice recommends consulting a forensic accountant. Employed to aid in discovering all marital assets, forensic accountants specialize in analyzing and investigating all aspects of an individual’s financial history. The high level of accuracy associated with their reports is respected in various court systems. Forensic accountants are essential for business owners engaged in divorce. Ultimately, full disclosure of both assets and liabilities will only benefit you during property distribution
Alba & Straile Understands the Delicate Process of Property Distribution
Property distribution is a complex process that requires the aid of a skilled and knowledgeable property distribution attorney. We pride ourselves on being results-driven and committed to our clients with compassion, attention to detail, and ease of attorney accessibility. Our goal is to provide our clients with the sound legal representation necessary to effectively and efficiently address all of their marital legal needs. We represent clients in Alachua, Lake, Marion, and the surrounding counties in Florida. Contact Alba & Straile PLLC at (352) 371-9141 for a no-obligation consultation today. We are available to guide you every step of the way.