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What do the Florida courts consider when dividing property?

| Jun 10, 2021 | Divorce

People considering divorce usually have a lot of questions. Many of those questions have to do with property and income. You’ve probably heard a nightmare story about one spouse receiving everything and the other left homeless and still paying child support.

In reality, such stories are typically wild exaggerations. In Florida, a truly uneven outcome like that is unlikely. The judge presiding over your divorce has to make decisions about splitting up your property, but they can’t just give one spouse everything.

As an equitable distribution state, Florida prioritizes fairness in the division of marital assets. What factors does a judge consider when they try to determine what is fair?

Judges look at the marriage and the situations of the individual spouses

There are many different considerations that influence how a judge will divide your property and your debt in a Florida divorce. The law lists nine specific factors and then also instructs the judge to consider other factors that would influence the fairness of the outcome.

Your individual contributions to the marriage will be a major consideration. Your income and any unpaid work you did around the home or with children in the family can influence what a judge believes you should receive from the marital estate. The judge will also look at your current economic situation and earning potential.

Your career and any contributions you made to your spouse’s career can influence property division. The length of your marriage is also a consideration. The judge will also need to think about the individual assets.

Even the custody of your minor children could play a role, as a judge may be more likely to let the parent with more parenting time stay in the family home if that would be better for the children. After considering all of those things, a judge then has to set terms that they think are fair for the division of your property.

You have the option of taking control of the property settlement

If the idea of having a judge make all of the financial decisions about your immediate future frightens you, you are not alone. Many people dislike the idea of handing over all authority to a complete stranger.

You and your spouse do have the option of negotiating a settlement with one another. Some couples find that this approach is beneficial, especially if they have unique assets like a business that would be hard for a judge to split appropriately. The better you understand property division in Florida divorces, the easier it will be for you to navigate the divorce and seek a positive outcome.