Property Division FAQs
Legal Counsel on Dividing Assets in a West Palm Beach Divorce
Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that, without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement between the couple, parties going through a divorce will be subject to a fair division of their marital property. Under Florida law, the initial presumption is for the parties to receive half of all assets and debts, except where the circumstances justify unequal distribution. If you have concerns or questions regarding how your property is to be divided upon divorce, consulting a knowledgeable divorce attorney in West Palm Beach can help you through the legal process. My name is William Wallshein, and I have assisted clients to make sure their rights are protected during asset and debt division proceedings for most of my 30+ years of experience.
When will a court divide property disproportionately between parties?
Without an agreement, the court will consider a variety of factors in determining whether to divide assets evenly. The purpose of equitable distribution is to ensure marital property is distributed fairly between the two parties. To achieve this objective, Florida courts consider the following factors:
- What each spouse contributed to the marriage, including contributions to child care and education
- Both spouses’ economic situation
- Length of the marriage
- Contributions of either spouse to the career or education of the other
- A spouse’s desire to retain any asset, including a family business
- A party’s wish to keep the home for the children
Under Florida law, the court may also look at additional factors necessary to ensure property distribution is equitable and fair. However, since Florida is a no-fault divorce state, the court is not permitted to consider unrelated issues of fault, such as adultery.
What things belong just to me?
Most assets that are acquired during the course of marriage are considered marital property and therefore subject to division. Conversely, property owned by one spouse before the marriage is generally considered non-marital, individual property. Other assets that may be considered individual property include those specified in any pre-existing agreement, inheritances received by one spouse, and gifts received by one spouse, excluding those given by one spouse to another.
What happens to my house in a divorce?
If you’ve purchased a home before the marriage, it is considered non-marital property. However, a recent Florida Supreme Court decision stated that in the case of a non-marital home with a mortgage that was paid during marriage, that equity can be considered marital property. In reaching this decision, the court considered the fair market value of the home as well as whether there had been passive appreciation, and if that appreciation would be individual or marital property for division. Given the complexity of determining what may or may not be marital property in divorce proceedings, seeking the advice of an experienced attorney is recommended to make sure your assets are divided properly.
How is my retirement account affected by a divorce?
Retirement funds and pension plans are set aside as deferred compensation to provide for employees after they stop working. Both employees and employers contribute to these accounts during the course of employment. As such, these funds are a part of a spouse’s income during marriage, which is subject to equitable distribution.
Consult a Skillful West Palm Beach Divorce Lawyer
Determining what and how assets and debts should be divided during a divorce can often be a contentious battle. My name is William Wallshein, and I worked as a certified public accountant before becoming a divorce lawyer in the West Palm Beach area. I have the experience and knowledge to analyze a couple’s finances and come up with a fair and appropriate settlement agreement. I represent clients throughout South Florida, including Jupiter as well as Palm Beach, Martin, and Broward Counties. Let me help you plan your future following a divorce. Please call 561-533-1221 to schedule a free initial consultation, or contact me online. We accept credit cards.