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How are assets divided in a contested divorce in Florida?

Divorce often requires making difficult decisions during a time of heightened stress and emotion.

One significant undertaking in a divorce is the division of assets. In some cases, this becomes a major source of contention.

What is equitable distribution of property?

State law determines the division of property in a divorce, and Florida is an equitable distribution state. In a community property state, the court divides all marital assets evenly between the two spouses. However, equitable distribution differs in that the court may determine that splitting assets equally is not fair. In this case, the final determination may include uneven distribution of property.

What are marital assets?

Marital assets refer to any property acquired during the course of a marriage, starting from the wedding day. These may include:

  • Real estate
  • Jewelry
  • Vehicles
  • Investment income
  • Retirement accounts
  • Savings and checking accounts

Sometimes spouses keep their income separate. However, even assets purchased by one spouse and titled in that spouse’s name are marital property. There are few exceptions that make assets purchased within a marriage non-marital assets.

What are non-marital assets?

The court does not include non-marital property in the equitable distribution process. Examples include:

  • Assets agreed upon in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
  • Assets acquired before the marriage
  • Assets acquired through inheritance or gifted to a spouse from someone outside of the marriage
  • Income generated by non-marital assets

Asset-heavy divorces are often complex, especially if one spouse attempts to hide assets from another. The more spouses can agree on asset division, the faster the process moves along.