Today, most states in this country are “equitable division” states when it comes to dividing property and assets in divorce. This means that a judge must divide marital property in an equitable manner — which is not necessarily the same as an “equal” manner — so that the divorce is not an unfair financial burden for either party. Property division is a two-step inquiry.
By definition, “marital property” consists of all assets that the parties acquired during the marriage. That label may seem fairly straightforward, but it can have some very confusing applications. Consider the following examples:
· Wife purchased a car prior to the marriage (non-marital property), and she used funds from her paycheck (marital property) to make the payments.
· Husband inherited rental property during the(Unclaimed/Created by KO/10/19) – Asset Division in Divorce
marriage (non-marital property) and used the proceeds from a second mortgage on the couple’s residence (marital property) to finance improvements on the inherited property.
· Wife has owned a landscaping company since before the marriage (non-marital property) and the workers perform free services for the marital residence (marital property).
All these things are examples of commingled property. Typically, in these situations, the contributing estate is entitled to reimbursement. So, in the first example, Wife may be required to reimburse the marital estate for the amount of the car payments she has made.
Once all assets have been identified and labeled, marital property must be split between the husband and wife. The court considers various factors in this process, including:
· Duration of the Marriage: A lengthy relationship often means that both spouses made substantial economic and non-economic contributions to the marital estate, both of which have equal values.
· Age and Health: An older or sickly person may have additional need for support, particularly in future years.
· Child Custody Provisions: The party with the minor children often wants to remain in the family home and retain all furnishings.
· Financial Circumstances: The judge may consider both current conditions and future earning capacity.
Other key factors include the amount of spousal maintenance, tax consequences, and inheritance rights.
Contact a Divorce Attorney
If you have decided to end your marriage, or your spouse has filed for divorce, you need a seasoned Tampa, FL divorce lawyer advocating for you. Call a law firm today to schedule a free consultation with divorce attorneys to find out how they can help. Divorce attorneys have extensive experience in all aspects of family law, including child custody, child support, division of property, and more. A legal team will use all available resources to get you the best possible outcome based on the circumstances of your case.
Thanks to The McKinney Law Group for their insight into family law and asset division in divorce.