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Lakeland Family & Divorce Attorney / Lakeland Property Division Attorney

Lakeland Property Division Attorney

Part of the divorce process involves dividing up the marital property between the divorcing spouses. Generally speaking, each party leaves with the property they brought into the marriage and kept separate, while assets (and debts) acquired during the marriage are split up more or less evenly. Even when striving to divide up the property equally, the process is more complicated than it sounds. Additionally, Florida law requires that the property division be “equitable,” which is not always the same thing as “equal.” Many factors come into play to determine an equitable distribution of marital property, and the process can quickly become contentious or complex.

At Darla K. Snead, P.L., our family law attorney is vastly experienced in helping parties settle conflicts and resolve disputes, including those involving complex matters of property division. We are here to advise you and represent you in the property division and all aspects of your Florida divorce with a dedication to getting the results you want and need. Contact our experienced Lakeland property division attorney today.

Marital Property Versus Separate Property in a Florida Divorce

Florida law defines marital property to include assets acquired during the marriage, whether acquired jointly or by either spouse, including gifts from one spouse to the other. Nonmarital assets include property acquired before the marriage or by a non-interspousal gift or inheritance during the marriage to one of the spouses individually. However, income derived from a nonmarital asset, such as rental income on a piece of property, could be marital or nonmarital depending on how it is handled. Additionally, if nonmarital property is improved in value by the work of either spouse during the marriage or through community funds, that enhanced value could be considered marital property. These are just some of the ways it can be difficult to distinguish between marital and nonmarital property.

Debts and liabilities can also be marital or nonmarital. Marital debts have to be divided fairly between the parties, based on factors such as each party’s income and earning capacity. If the debt is tied to an asset such as the marital home, the party keeping the home might be charged with the debt, often requiring them to refinance and get a new mortgage in their name only. Another option is for the court to order the sale of the home so the mortgage can be paid off, with the parties splitting any remaining proceeds. Fighting for a fair distribution of marital assets and debt while retaining the property that is important to you can be a complicated matter. The law office of Darla K. Snead, P.L., is here to help with knowledge of the applicable law and skill in negotiating or litigating the division of marital property.

Dividing Marital Property Fairly

In a divorce, the parties can work together to come up with a property settlement agreement that splits up the marital property in the manner that best suits their needs. Darla K. Snead, P.L., can work with you to create a marital settlement agreement that is fair to you and meets your needs. Attorney Darla K. Snead can use her years of experience in conflict resolution and mediation to keep these discussions on-track and productive so they don’t devolve into a contested fight over property. An agreement between the parties can be incorporated into the divorce judgment provided the court reviews it and finds it to be fair.

If the parties can’t agree on how to divide the marital property, then they’ll have to litigate the issue in court, with the judge making the final decision. The judge is required to make an “equitable distribution” of marital assets and liabilities in a way that is fair to the parties. The judge starts with the premise that an equal division is fair, but many different factors could justify an unequal distribution under Florida law. These factors include:

  • The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as a homemaker, as well as contributions of income
  • The economic circumstances of each party
  • The length of the marriage
  • Whether either party interrupted their career or education for the sake of the marriage
  • Whether one spouse contributed to the career advancement or education of the other
  • Whether any asset such as an interest in a business or professional practice should be kept separate
  • Whether it’s desirable for the sake of the kids for the custodial parent to keep the marital home
  • Whether either party intentionally dissipated, wasted, depleted or destroyed any marital assets, either after the divorce petition was filed or within two years before the petition was filed

If the property division issue in your divorce is contested, Darla K. Snead can help by putting together strong evidence and legal arguments to inform the judge’s decision in a way that protects your rights and interests in the property most important to you as well as the overall outcome. In addition, if you think the other party is hiding assets or under or overvaluing them, we know the professionals to call in to make sure you are being treated fairly.

Contact Our Lakeland Property Division Lawyer Today

For help with the equitable distribution of marital property and other complex matters in your contested or uncontested Florida divorce, Darla K. Snead, P.L., can provide you with the advice and assistance you need for a fair result that meets your needs. Call our experienced Lakeland property division lawyer today.

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