West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney
When a marriage comes to an end, there are several pending issues that must be determined before the two individuals may walk away. Often, the most difficult issue a couple without children deals with during divorce is the distribution of marital assets and liabilities. “What once was mine is now yours” overnight becomes “what’s mine is mine and yours is yours.” If you and your spouse are considering a divorce, it is important to speak with an experienced divorce attorney who can ensure that you will achieve most equitable split of your assets and liabilities.
Equitable Distribution Property State
Florida is an equitable distribution state, and not a community property state. This means that the court will review the ownership of assets of each individual within the marriage and determine what is the most equitable when it comes to dividing the assets and liabilities. If there is a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place, this legal document will generally outline how the assets and liabilities should be split up between the couple. A divorce becomes more complicated when the couple has purchased property together or have indebted themselves jointly such as with a mortgage or creation of a family business.
Factors Considered in Equitable Distribution
When determining how to split up marital assets, the court will review the balance sheet and determine what will be the most equitable split for the couple. This assessment will depend on the following relevant factors:
- The different contributions between the spouses to the household earnings;
The separate economic health of each spouse and the possible implications that the divorce will have on his or her economic stability;
The desire to maintain a specific asset, such as a beloved pet, property in a favorite city, or an interest/share in a company that is near and dear to one of the client’s hearts;
The marital home and who desires to stay within the home;
The duration of the marriage;
If there were any sacrifices between the couple for careers or educational opportunities, or if one of the spouses supported the other for a career or educational opportunity; and
If one of the parties intentionally wasted, destroyed, or hid any assets knowing that a divorce was pending; among other factors.
Value Added: Ensuring Justice Through Public Policy
In recent years, the courts have found value added for those clients who were homemakers during the duration of their marriage. For many states, including Florida, homemaking is considered to be a profession, with the understanding that if not for the spouse who was a homemaker, the professional spouse would have had to hire someone for those services. This is especially true when the professional and homemaking spouses have children that require daycare or any other type of raising. The costs that would have been attributed to hiring a babysitter or sending the kids to daycare everyday so that both parents could be in the workforce is instead attributed to the value and earnings of the homemaker. It would be against public policy to assert that only the person in the workforce brings value to the family, and should therefore get the larger slice of the assets earned at the time of a divorce.
Please contact West Palm Beach family law attorney William Wallshein for a confidential consultation.