Florida divorce asset split and custody
For this reason, we take an informational approach. Our Florida divorce and family law videos help explain Florida laws regarding common situations surrounding matrimonial and family issues. If there is one thing we hope you gain by watching these videos — whether your legal problem concerns spousal support, parenting time, child support, debts and assets, or relocation — it is that you have options. And as your attorneys, we can assist you efficiently, compassionately and affordably.
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Property Division in a Divorce
Kramer — Founder Robert W. Brannen Keith T. Hill Janelise Gastell Michael L. Leetzow Raymond A. You are Assumed the Father.
What is a Request for Production? Haven't Received Child Support in Years. How do You Prove Alimony? What is Modification? What is a Financial Affidavit? Top 5 Mistakes Made in Divorce. What is a Marital Settlement Agreement? Florida is an equitable division state, which means that those assets that are identified as part of the marital estate are divided in an equitable manner by the court in a divorce.
Where one ex-spouse wants to retain an asset of a particular value, for instance, the court will attempt to award the other ex-spouse an asset of a similar value or significance.
In other words, the value of an asset is usually determined as of the date of the filing of the petition and is what price an objective and independent buyer would likely pay for that asset on the open market. For instance, suppose that William and Marla are divorcing. Because the antique car likely has special significance to William, he will likely be successful in asking the court to award him the antique car in the final property division.
Because of the great deal of difference between the value of the antique car and the value of the sedan, however, a court may end up awarding Marla additional assets. For instance, suppose that a husband has stocks which pay a regular dividend.
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The precise value of the dividend varies from year to year. A court that looks at the value of the stock as of the day of divorce and divides this value between the parties does a disservice to one of the ex-spouses. Furthermore, suppose that both William and Marla are 40 years old. For this reason, courts will tend to divide income streams based on a percentage. This would more closely approximate the sort of lifestyle Marla could have expected to enjoy had the two of them remained married. Determining whether something should be considered an asset or an income stream is not always an easy determination.
There are some items that share characteristics of both assets and income streams. For instance, consider a couple that purchased and then refurbished a multi-story building during the course of their marriage. During the marriage, the couple did rent out the apartments and regularly received certain rental income.
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Because of this, the building has some of the main characteristics of an income stream. Business interests can also be considered both assets and income streams. How should the building be classified? Double-dipping has traditionally been an issue with pensions and business interests.
The problem arises, for example, when a court divides the present value of the pension between parties as part of its division of the marital estate and then considers the income stream the pension provides for the spouse and orders that alimony be based on that income stream. The issues of double-dipping and whether courts should permit it are issues that courts across the country are struggling with.
On one side of the argument, opponents of double-dipping state that the practice allows the non-paying spouse to benefit twice from the same asset. On the other side of the argument, proponents of double-dipping state that an equitable distribution of the marital estate and evaluating the appropriateness of alimony are two separate tasks. The court should not ignore all the relevant information available to it when it performs each task. Although historically Florida courts appeared reluctant to permit double-dipping, recent court cases have reversed this trend and approve of a court considering all relevant information when making an alimony determination.
Marital Property vs Non Marital Property in Florida
In a Florida case from the s, Florida courts appeared to state that double-dipping was prohibited. This led to a series of cases in which Florida courts ruled that pension benefits could not be divided as part of the equitable division of marital property and then considered again if one spouse should be awarded alimony.
When it was discovered that this holding was due to a misprint in the initial case from the s, the courts changed their holding. In recent years, Florida courts have held that judges presiding over divorces are to consider the marital assets of the parties, including the values of pensions, retirement plans , business interests , and the like. Then, the judge is to consider all relevant evidence and circumstances in determining whether an award of alimony is appropriate.
In making this second determination, courts can consider the income streams of the parties, even if the income stream comes from an asset that was part of the equitable distribution made earlier. Hiring an experienced family law attorney can help ensure that a party to a divorce is not taken advantage of during the property division and alimony decision process. Dishonest spouses may attempt to hide assets and income streams in an effort to obtain more assets during the division or convince a court that an alimony award is not warranted.
A court presiding over a Florida divorce has a number of decisions to make. A court must also determine what amount of child support to order if the divorcing couple has any children in common and whether an award of alimony is appropriate. An asset generally refers to a piece of property that has a present value that can be determined. Examples of assets that are typically present in Florida divorces include the marital home, other homes or properties the couple may have acquired, collectibles, tools, clothing, and vehicles.
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This would include retirement plans, pensions, stocks, and business interests. While assets are generally considered when the court is dividing the marital estate, income streams are usually relevant to determining the amount of child support the paying spouse should pay as well as whether alimony is appropriate. Unfortunately, sometimes a particular item is not easily distinguishable as either an asset or an income stream. Instead, the item bears characteristics of both in that, while it can be assigned a present value, it produces a stream of income for the owner.
The classic example is a pension because, while it is capable of having a value assigned to it and then having that value divided between the spouses, it is also designed to provide a steady income for the owner.