Zachary A. VanDyke, PA
Panama City Attorney
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What you should know about marital property laws in Florida

After more than 15 years of marriage, you and your husband have decided to divorce. The two of you have already agreed to joint custody for your three children, but you have not spent any time discussing how you will divide your assets.

Dividing the property may be a source of contention during the divorce proceedings. Between the house, boat, and investment and retirement accounts, you have a substantial amount of property that will be included in the divorce settlement. If the two of you cannot come to an agreement, you could be facing a decision from the court.

The first step in the divorce process is to have an understanding of Florida family law. An experienced divorce attorney can help you through the process, both in and out of the courtroom. Before trying to determine what property you will either keep or lose, it is important to know the basics of marital property division laws in Florida.

Property laws

Each state has a set of statutes that govern how the court divides marital property during divorce. Ten states follow community property laws that divide property equally between divorcing spouses. Other states, including Florida, have equitable distribution laws. This means that the judge will divide the property in a way that he or she deems fair. This does not mean that the court will divide the property in half. The court might choose to give you more than your husband or vice versa.

Factors to determine equitable division

The court will consider several circumstances before it makes a decision on how to divide your marital property. One of the things the judge may examine is marital fault. If there are grounds for divorce such as adultery or cruelty, the judge may grant more property to the injured party.

The court will also look at the difference in your earning capacities. If your husband is able to earn substantially more than you do, the court may grant you a greater portion of assets so that you can maintain your household at the same or similar standard of living that was experienced during the marriage.

Other factors include health and physical condition, as well as age. If you are suffering from a condition that will make it difficult for you to work, then the judge may be favorable toward you. However, if there is a large age gap between you and your husband and he is close to retirement, the property division might be equal or favored toward him.

Another circumstance that the court will consider is whether one of you stands to receive a large inheritance. If you come from a wealthy family and you are expecting a significant inheritance, the court may lean more toward your husband in the property division.

Property division in Florida can be very complex. Before progressing further with your divorce, you should take steps to understand your rights and options regarding equitable division of assets.

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Zachary A. Vandyke, P.A.
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Panama City, FL 32401

Phone: 850-851-0864
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