Property & Asset Division

In Florida divorces the court is charged with dividing assets and liabilities acquired by you and your spouse during your marriage. These assets and debts make up what is known as the marital estate.  Other assets acquired prior to the marriage or gained without amy marital effort and not otherise comingled wiht marital assets are considered non-marital and are are set-aside by the court and not disturbed during the divorce process.  However, what constitutes a marital asset or liability can be complicated and can have a great impact of the the equitable division of marital property, an award of child support or an award of alimony during a divorce.  If you have questions about what is included in your marital estate, please contact Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A.  

Unless you and your spouse agree or a prenuptial agreement, anti-nuptial agreement or other form of agreement is in place defining how the marital estate will be divided, it will be up to your judge to determine how your property is divided.  In making this determination, the court begins with the premise that the distribution of marital assets and liabilities will be equal unless there are relevant factors that justify an unequal distribution.  Such factors include, but are not necessarily limited to:

  • The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker;
  • The economic circumstances of the parties;
  • The duration of the marriage;
  • Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party;
  • The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse;
  • The desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party;
  • The role of each spouse in the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement marital assets;
  • The role of each spouse in incurring liabilities or debts;
  • The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so; and
  • The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.

 As defined by Florida Statutes, marital assets and liabilities generally include: 

  • Assets acquired and liabilities incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by them;
  • The enhancement in value and appreciation of nonmarital assets resulting either from the efforts of either party during the marriage or from the contribution to or expenditure thereon of marital funds or other forms of marital assets;
  • Interspousal gifts during the marriage;
  • All benefits, rights and funds accrued during the marriage in retirement, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, deferred compensation, and insurance plans and programs; and
  • All real property held by the parties as tenants by the entireties, whether acquired prior to or during the marriage unless contested by either party.

Non-marital assets and liabilities typically include those acquired prior to the marriage, assets acquired separately by either spouse by noninterspousal gift, bequest, devise, or descent, all income derived from nonmarital assets during the marriage unless the income was treated, used, or relied upon by the parties as a marital asset, and assets and liabilities excluded from marital assets and liabilities by valid written agreement of the parties.  Any liability incurred by forgery or unauthorized signature of one spouse signing the name of the other spouse is also considered a nonmarital debt and the nonoffending spouse will not be responsible for this liability.

Remember that an “equitable distribution” of martial assets begins with the premise of an equal division of marital property and liabilities but does not automatically result in an equal split.  The experienced, knowledgeable and committed attorneys of Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A. can be a great asset to you and your children, protecting your rights and helping you through the challenges of the divorce process. 

At Matthew C. Bothwell, P.A. we stand ready to help you through the complex legal issues involving the division of martial assets and liabilities which arise during a Florida divorce proceeding. We are here to fight for you and to protect your rights.