In a divorce case, the assets of each party will be identified, classified, and divided, but this can be a difficult and time-consuming process. The goal of the court is to divide assets as fairly and equally as possible in a process called "equitable distribution." Our divorce lawyers in Gainesville, Florida understand the frustration and stress that can come from this process and aim to help you navigate it as smoothly as possible.
Contact the experienced family law attorneys with Silverman and Mack, LLC for more information about unequal distribution to your case.
Dividing Assets In A Divorce
Assets are property of all kinds, both tangible and intangible, and common assets discussed in divorce include houses, land, possessions, cash, and cash equivalents. Before the distribution process begins, all assets will be classified as either martial, which are shared between parties, or non-martial, which are owned and controlled by one individual. Only property classified as marital assets are eligible for distribution.
Assets purchased or acquired during the marriage are classified as marital assets, regardless of if it was acquired by one party or both parties. In addition, property contributed by both parties, even if owned by one party prior to the marriage, is a marital asset. For example, if one party owned a house before marriage and during marriage and both parties paid toward the mortgage or renovated the house, the house would be eligible for division. The only scenario where a judge can award a marital asset to one party is if there is a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement for that property.
Non-marital assets are those held solely by one party and kept separate. Assets acquired by one party before marriage with no contribution from the other party during marriage are non-marital. Gifts given to you from someone other than your spouse and inheritance are also considered non-marital regardless of if it was received during the marriage.
What Is Unequal Distribution?
The court begins with the goal to distribute everything equitably and fairly. If the court decides on an unequal distribution it is because they find it to be justified and unbiased. There are unique and specific circumstances that contribute to an unequal distribution. If assets are distributed any other way than half and half, the distribution is considered unequal.
When Do Florida Courts Order An Unequal Division Of Marital Assets?
Equitable distribution of assets under Florida law favors an equal distribution of marital assets, but there may be times when Florida Courts decide to distribute assets unequally based on certain factors, such as homemaking, economic circumstance, the length of the marriage, and more! Florida Statute § 61.075 describes the factors that could contribute to an unequal division of marital assets, or contact a Gainesville divorce attorney to learn more about how these factors could affect the distribution of assets in your particular case.
Disproportionate contributions refers to the concept that one party contributed a large portion of their non-marital assets to obtain the marital assets, such as if one party used their personal savings to pay the entire down payment on the marital home. The duration of the marriage does affect the disproportionate contributions factor.
Intentional Destroying Of Marital Assets
This occurs when one spouse intentionally disposes of, destroys, or depletes a marital asset ahead of a divorce proceeding for the purpose of keeping it from the other party. In this case, the other party may be awarded additional assets to make up for the asset that was intentionally removed.
This factor refers to the unequal division of assets to compensate one party who has been treated unfavorably because of their spouse's misconduct. Such as fraudulent or criminal acts that resulted in the reduction of marital assets.
In some cases, one spouse will be in a better financial position than the other. This includes post-divorce resources like a higher income. The court may divide assets unequally to favor the party with fewer financial resources.
How Our Family Law Lawyers Can Help
The process of dividing assets can be overwhelming and difficult to organize. Not all resolutions are amicable and it is important to have an experienced divorce lawyer by your side. Through compelling representation, our Gainesville lawyers are dedicated to helping our clients accomplish their goals. Contact a family law attorney with Silverman and Mack, LLC today to schedule a free case consultation!