For the most part, all assets and debts that were acquired during the marriage are subject to equitable distribution. However, equitable does not necessarily mean “50/50” split, it means equitable or in other words, what is fair. There are some very detailed and defined exceptions such as inheritances and passive appreciation. The presumption under Florida Statute 61.075 is that the division be equal. It doesn’t matter under whose name the asset is under, or which party incurred the debt.
For example, if the one spouse incurs a $50,000.00 debt during the time the parties were married, equitably speaking the other spouse in liable for half of that debt. In a very real sense the law looks at a married couple as one entity.
An asset that was acquired before the marriage is considered non-marital and is often not subject to equitable distribution. However, if this asset is brought into the marriage it may become susceptible to distribution. For example, If a piece of property was purchased and held in the name of the Husband prior to the marriage but he then Quit Claim Deeds the Wife’s name onto the property, an argument can be made that that once premarital property can now be considered marital property.
No matter how large or small the marital estate is, it is usually best for both parties to negotiate a fair and reasonable property settlement agreement through mediation. This not only saves the time and expense of trial, but also gives each person a better chance to remain on solid financial ground as they transition into two separate households.
However, separating marital and non-marital assets is not always a simple exercise. The general rule with equitable distribution is that if you owned it before your marriage, it is a non-marital asset. However, any non-marital assets that are co-mingled with marital assets will usually be considered as marital assets when it comes time to divide property. Serena Carroll will make sure that your interests are represented fairly in this process.