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Florida property division law: What you need to know

Most divorcing spouses are apprehensive about what they'll need to give up during their asset division proceedings. This apprehension produces many questions about Florida marital property law.

If you'd like to better understand your marital property rights, what you might be able to keep and what you might have to give up, keep reading. A better understanding of these issues could pay dividends during your divorce.

Factors considered during property division in Florida

The state of Florida is known as an "equitable distribution" state. What this means is that Family law courts will do their best to divide your property fairly during your divorce proceedings. Fairly, by the way, does not necessarily mean equally. Here are a few factors that a family law judge will consider when trying to determine what's fair:

  • The economic situation of each party, their individual assets and their earning capacities.
  • How much both sides contributed to the marriage, including contributions relating to child care, education expenses, income, homemaking services and other contributions.
  • How long the marriage lasted.
  • Whether either party needed to give up career ambitions or education goals for the other spouse and the family's benefit.
  • How desirable it is for either spouse to retain certain assets intact. For example, one spouse might wish to retain full ownership of a business, professional practice or corporation.
  • The level of contribution either spouse made to improve of various marital assets, like the family home or other property.
  • Whether it is desirable for either spouse to keep the family residence in order to raise the children there.
  • Whether either spouse intentionally wasted, destroyed or depleted marital assets.
  • Other factors deemed important by the court.

Negotiating a fair divorce settlement

When both spouses fully understand their marital property rights -- and how a court might decide their case -- the spouses will have a better chance of negotiating a fair, out-of-court settlement. This will help the spouses save time and money while encouraging more amicable post-divorce relations.

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