Tampa Divorce Lawyers Looking Out for Your Interests in the Division of Marital Property
The longer the marriage, the more property the couple acquires together. But even in a relatively brief marriage, it is possible to acquire significant assets (and debts) together, including perhaps a home and all that comes with it, including furniture, appliances and a mortgage. If the couple splits, they need to figure out a way to divide up their joint property before they part. Florida law requires an equitable distribution assets and liabilities, but not all property can be divided equally, and sometimes it would not be equitable, or fair, to divide the property equally anyway. The Tampa divorce lawyers at Cortes Hodz Family Law & Mediation, P.A. can help you work through the property division in your divorce. Whether you are negotiating a property settlement on your own or in mediation or collaborative divorce, or litigating the case in court, our skilled and experienced attorneys can help make sure all property is properly characterized and accurately valued for a fair result that meets your needs.
What property must be divided in a Florida divorce?
Each spouse leaves the marriage with their own separate property, as well as an equitable division of the marital property. Determining whether property is marital or nonmarital, however, is not always so simple. For the most part, nonmarital assets and liabilities are those which were acquired before marriage or during marriage by way of a gift or inheritance. Property exchanged for nonmarital property, or income from nonmarital property, remains nonmarital as well.
Marital assets and liabilities, on the other hand, are those which were acquired during marriage whether by the spouses together or separately. Also, gifts from one spouse to another, pensions and other benefits, are marital property. Even the appreciation in value of a nonmarital asset can be marital property when the appreciation is due to efforts expended during the marriage, such as using marital funds to maintain or renovate a nonmarital property.
Parties can also designate any assets and debts as either marital or nonmarital through a provision in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Our Florida property division attorneys can help you through this process by negotiating a fair and equitable distribution of marital property with your divorcing spouse or fighting for your rights and interests in court in a contested property division. An experienced divorce lawyer can help ensure that property is properly characterized as marital or nonmarital, even in complicated situations where property was commingled, or income derived from property must be traced back to its origin and determined how it was used. We can further help ensure that assets are accurately valued, which is essential to a fair distribution. Our team handles the most complex questions in the division of assets and liabilities including the identification and valuation of businesses, pension plans, real estate and more.
How do courts decide what is fair?
In deciding whether an equal or unequal distribution would be equitable, or fair, the courts are required to consider a list of factors set out in the law. These factors include:
- The length of the marriage
- The economic circumstances of the parties
- How much each spouse contributed to the marriage, whether by earning income, managing the household, taking care of the kids, or through other means
- How much one spouse gave to furthering the education or career of the other, including interrupting his or her own career or education
- Whether it’s desirable to let one spouse retain an asset undivided, such as a professional practice or business interest
- Whether it’s desirable to keep the marital home in the hands of the parent with primary custody of the children
- Whether either spouse intentionally wasted or destroyed marital assets after the divorce was filed or within the two years before the divorce
Many of these factors are subjective, and the judge will need to be informed and persuaded by the evidence and arguments made by the parties through their attorneys. Our seasoned Tampa divorce lawyers build a strong, compelling case to help ensure an equitable distribution that meets your needs regarding the marital assets most important to you.
Help with the Property Division in Your Tampa Divorce
For help with the property division in your Tampa divorce, call Cortes Hodz Family Law & Mediation, P.A. at 813-514-0909 for a free case evaluation with a knowledgeable and experienced Hillsborough County marital and family law attorney.