Equitable Distribution Does Not Always Mean Equal Distribution
By: Aisha S. White
We have all seen scandalous stories in the news and tabloids about unhappily married celebrity couples fighting over marital property during their divorce. Couples end up fighting over the checking account, money, 401Ks, pensions, cars, investment accounts, and even cats and dogs! How does the court figure out who gets what from the marriage? First, the court must make a determination as to what is “marital assets and liabilities” and what is “non-marital assets and liabilities” as defined in Florida Statute 61.075. The classification of a divorcing party’s assets and liabilities is the starting point for determining who walks away with what from the marriage. This may not always be a clear cut determination, because some assets may start off as non-marital or pre-marital assets, and due to certain actions taken during the marriage, the asset may have been converted to a marital asset.
Many Floridians believe that when parties file for a divorce, their marital assets and liabilities are automatically split right down the middle. That scenario could take place. However, that is not always the case, and if requested, the court can actually order an “unequal” distribution if supported by the appropriate findings. Per Florida Statute 61.075(1), “the court must begin with the premise that distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for unequal distribution…” When considering whether there should be an unequal distribution, the court will consider the list of factors listed in Florida Statute 61.075(1)(a-j) .
Just to name a few, some of the factors to be considered by the court are: the length of the marriage, the economic circumstances of the parties, any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities, and the contribution to the marriage by each party. There are several other factors that the court may consider as well.
If you desire an unequal distribution of marital assets and liabilities, it must be pled or else it is waived. When determining whether an unequal distribution is proper, the court decree must also note findings based on the factors listed in Florida Statute 61.075. If you need assistance with a divorce, please do not hesitate to contact DKN Legal, PLLC at 321-329-5449 to schedule a consultation.
Nothing in this article should be construed as legal advice nor as forming an attorney-client relationship or any other form of legal representation. Consult with an attorney at DKN Legal or another attorney of your choice for legal advice.