Equitable distribution is the term used by Florida court’s to distribute assets and liabilities.
Assets include, but are not limited to, real property (marital home, lots, investment property), personal bank accounts, cars, boats and retirement assets (401-K, pension, IRA). Liabilities include, but are not limited to, mortgages, credit card debt, lines of credit, personal loans and car payments.
The court starts with the proposition that assets and liabilities should be divided equally, unless there is justification for an unequal distribution, based on the following factors (these factors were taken from the Florida Statutes dealing with equitable distribution):
the court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors, including:
(a) The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker.
(b) The economic circumstances of the parties.
(c) The duration of the marriage.
(d) Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
(e) The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
(f) The desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party.
(g) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets of the parties.
(h) The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so, it is in the best interest of the child or that party, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence until the child is emancipated or until exclusive possession is otherwise terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. In making this determination, the court shall first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, whether other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home.
(i) The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.
(j) Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
Copyright © 2011 Steven A. Leitman*
Original posting on 904Divorce.com
*no copyright is asserted as to any
portion of the Florida Statutes