Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Divorce and the Equitable Distribution of Assets and Debts in Florida

Since 1993, Florida’s equitable distribution statute (Fla. Stat. 61.075), has required a trial court in a divorce case to divide the marital assets and liabilities equally between the parties, unless the court rules that an unequal distribution is justified. In this event, the court must make written findings justifying an unequal division of assets. The statute lists the factors that a court must consider in a divorce case when determining an equitable distribution. Because an equal division of marital assets and liabilities is the initial presumption in any equitable distribution plan, these factors are applied to determine whether an unequal division of property is justified. Some of the statutory factors that the court must consider in a divorce case, are:
1) The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as a homemaker.
2) The economic circumstances of the parties.
3) The duration of the marriage.
4) The desirability of retaining any assets, including an interest in a business, corporation, or a professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party.
5) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income, to the improvement of both the marital and non-marital assets of the parties, or to the incurrence of liabilities, with regard to both the marital and non-marital assets of the parties.
6) The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the petition was filed or within two years before the petition was filed.

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