Florida Property Division Lawyer
Equitable distribution of property is often one of the most complex and difficult parts of obtaining a divorce. If you are facing the prospect of divorce, it is important to have an experienced and thorough property division lawyer on your side to ensure your property interests are adequately protected. The knowledgeable property division legal team at the West Palm Beach Law Office of Scott Glassman, P.A. is ready to bring more than six decades of legal experience to bear in ensuring that you get the property you deserve in your south Florida divorce.
What Counts as Marital Property?
In a divorce, all marital property is subject to distribution. Non-marital property is exempt from division in the divorce, although it may be relevant to other issues (such as to evaluate each party’s finances for the purposes of child support or alimony.) It is important to understand what counts as “marital” and what counts as “property” to evaluate how your divorce may affect your finances.
“Property” is broadly defined to include just about anything of value. For a divorce, marital property and liabilities include, for example:
- Real estate
- Bank accounts and cash
- Investment assets including stocks, bonds, and options
- Retirement accounts
- Business ownership interests
- Insurance benefits
- Jewelry, art, and other collectibles
- Intellectual property (copyrights, trademarks, patents)
- Personal property (electronics, furniture, appliances, etc.)
- Liabilities including student loans, mortgages, credit card balances, etc.
These are just a few of the items that count as property for the purposes of divorce. If you are not sure whether something counts as property, chances are that it does. Call a savvy Florida property division lawyer if you have questions about certain types of property.
“Marital,” on the other hand, is a bit easier to define. For the most part, the following is true:
- Marital property includes everything acquired during the marriage with marital labor unless an exception applies
- Non-marital property includes everything acquired before or after the marriage, as well as inheritance or gifts to one party not meant to be awarded to the couple or family as a whole, and anything excluded under a prenuptial agreement
- It is possible that things which are done during the marriage may cause what was non- marital property to be marital.
Separating marital from non-marital property can become difficult when marital and non-marital assets are commingled. For example, if one party owns a house before marriage but then both spouses contribute to the renovation and enhancement of the property during the marriage, some portion of the house may be converted into marital property.
Equitable Distribution, Not Equal
In Florida, marital property is distributed equitably between the parties pursuant to Florida Statutes. Ideally, the parties will reach a settlement addressing all marital assets. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, however, then the Court will need to decide how to divide the marital assets.
The Court will look at several factors to evaluate how to distribute the property between the spouses, including the following:
- The duration of the marriage
- Each spouse’s contributions to the marriage (financial and otherwise)
- The financial circumstances of each spouse
- Each spouse’s desire and need for certain items
- Each spouse’s qualifications to receive certain items
The Court will also look to divide things appropriately. For example, if one party is a doctor and owns a medical practice, the Court might not give the non-physician spouse 50% of the practice (as they would not be qualified to own the practice), but that spouse might receive the equivalent monetary value in other assets more appropriate to divide. Marital debts are also dealt with: Non-marital debts go to the party that incurred them, while marital debts will be distributed equitably.
Dealing With Complex or Difficult-to-Divide Assets
Some assets are easier to assess than others. Complex assets such as business ownership interests, closely held companies, commercial real estate, stock grants, and others may need to be professionally valued before they can be reasonably apportioned between the parties. Other assets may be easy to value but hard to divide, such as the family home. Other assets will require special procedures to divide for legal reasons, such as 401(k)s and other retirement assets.
The seasoned property division attorneys at the Law Office of Scott Glassman, P.A. will help you deal with all marital assets, from the simple to the complex. We know the processes for valuing complex assets, the rules and laws around fair distribution, and how to obtain the legal rights necessary to split special assets appropriately.
Fight for Your Property Rights With a Seasoned Florida Property Division Lawyer
The experienced Florida property division attorneys at the Law Office of Scott Glassman, P.A. have more than 60 years of combined experience helping Florida family law clients get the results they deserve. For help fighting for the property that matters to you, or for assistance with other family law matters throughout Florida including Martin, Palm Beach and Broward County, or statewide, call the Law Office of Scott Glassman, P.A. at 561-688-5006 today!