Equitable Distribution FAQs
In Florida, family courts follow the principle of equitable distribution when distributing property between divorcing spouses. Equitable distribution laws can be complex. As divorce attorneys, we get a lot of questions about equitable distribution. This is why we decided to summarize Florida’s equitable distribution laws by answering some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about equitable distribution.
Disclaimer: Please note that this article is meant for informational purposes only. If you are looking for legal guidance, please consult an attorney.
- Does equitable distribution mean that property is divided equally between spouses?
No. Equitable distribution does not mean an equal distribution. Instead, it means that property is divided fairly. Often, Florida courts will divide property between spouses equally or in a 50/50 manner. In fact, Florida law requires courts to always begin with the presumption that property should be divided equally between spouses. However, if the court finds that the situation warrants it, it can award one spouse more property than the other.
- Is all property subject to equitable distribution?
No. In Florida, only certain property is subject to equitable distribution. The equitable distribution process only applies to marital property. Marital property is generally any property that a couple acquires during a marriage. Any property acquired before marriage is considered separate property and is not subject to equitable distribution. Also, property obtained during marriage by gift, devise, bequest, descent, or property provided for in a written agreement is not subject to equitable distribution.
- How does the court ensure property is equitably distributed between spouses?
The court considers several factors when determining how to divide marital property between spouses. The following are some of the factors the court considers to ensure property is divided equitably between spouses;
- The marriage’s duration
- The contribution by each spouse to the marriage
- The economic circumstances of both parties
- The interruption of either spouse’s education or career
- The contributions of one spouse to the career and education of the other spouse
- If my spouse and I agree on how to divide our property, will our property still be equitably distributed?
No. During divorce, marital property does not have to be divided equitably. If you and your spouse agree on how to divide your property between yourselves, the court will not engage in equitable distribution. The court only engages in equitable distribution if the divorcing couple cannot agree on how to divide property between themselves.
Suppose you and your spouse agree on how to divide some of your marital assets and not others. In such a case, the court will step in and distribute the undivided marital assets.
- Will I receive more property if my spouse was unfaithful during marriage?
Just because your spouse was unfaithful during your marriage does not automatically mean you will be awarded more property than them. Cheating, in and of itself is not enough to justify an unequal division of marital assets. However, if your spouse’s unfaithfulness impacted the marital estate, you may be awarded more than they are. For example, if your spouse dissipated marital assets for the benefit of their extramarital affair, you may be awarded more property than they are.
Talk to a Lakeland, FL Divorce Lawyer Today
Our experienced Lakeland divorce attorney at Darla K. Snead, P.L., can help you manage property division issues in your divorce. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and discuss your case.