Who Determines How Assets Are Divided in a Divorce?

If you are considering divorce, you very likely have a lot on your mind. Divorce can be a fresh start for many, but there are logistics involved that can have a significant impact on the new path you face. For instance, how assets are divided in the divorce process can have far-reaching impacts on all parties involved. You may then be wondering, who determines how assets are divided in a divorce?

Asset Division in a Florida Divorce

There are a few different parties that may determine how assets are divided in a divorce. It largely rests on the specific circumstances of a couple. For instance, the property may be divided according to the terms of a prenuptial agreement or postnuptial agreement the parties previously put in place. In the alternative, the spouses themselves may reach an agreement on how the marital property will be divided. While division of assets can be a hotly contested subject in divorce proceedings, there is still the possibility that a divorcing couple may be able to reach a mutually acceptable agreement on the issue for themselves. In that case, they would bring the agreement to a judge to have it approved.

If a couple cannot agree upon division of the assets on their own, the court will do so for them. When it comes to dividing assets in a divorce, Florida is in the majority of states as it follows rules for equitable distribution. It is important to note that equitable division does not mean equal. Instead, equitable division means that the court will attempt to fairly divide the assets. This may or may not result in a 50/50 split of the assets.

How are assets divided?

The first task of the court in dividing the property in a divorce is to determine which property is to be categorized as marital and which should be considered separate. Only marital property will be divided in the divorce as it is considered to be owned by both spouses. Separate property, on the other hand, is considered to be owned by one spouse. That spouse will receive it in the divorce property settlement. Generally speaking, separate property is owned by a spouse before marriage and marital property is property acquired during the marriage. There are, of course, some prominent exceptions and amendments to this general rule of thumb.

When attempting to equitably divide the marital assets, a court will consider several factors, including:

  • The income and earning potential of each spouse
  • The length of the marriage
  • The number of dependents
  • The debts and assets of each spouse
  • The physical and mental health of each spouse
  • Any contribution a spouse made to support the education and promotion of the other spouse’s career
  • Any other factor deemed relevant

The court will consider these factors in rendering a decision on how the marital property should be divided to see equity served.

Orlando Divorce Attorney

Divorce can have more impacts on your life than you may even have initially realized. The dedicated divorce attorneys at Orlando Family Team are here to protect your best interests and set you up for a successful post-divorce life. Let us help you find your fresh start. Contact us today.

About the Author
Andrew Nickolaou, Esq., B.C.S., is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew and his partner, Ophelia Bernal-Mora, Esq., B.C.S., joined forces in March 2016 to form the unique and boutique husband and wife family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. Together, Andrew and Ophelia take a practical and team-based approach to all of their cases and clients to deliver the highest quality experience and representation.