During your marital mediation, one aspect to be determined is the division of assets, know as equitable distribution. Equitable distribution is the fair, but not necessarily equal, division of all marital property, assets, and debts. This complex concept is discussed in Section 61.075 of the Florida Statutes.
the court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution based on all relevant factors, including:
(a) The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children (children’s issues) and services as homemaker.
(b) The economic circumstances of the parties.
(c) The age and the physical and emotional condition of each party.
(d) Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
(e) The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
(f) 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.
(g) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets of the parties.
(h) 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, it is in the best interest of the child or that party, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence until the child is emancipated or until exclusive possession is otherwise terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. In making this determination, the court shall first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, whether other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home.
(i) 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.
(j) Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.
Typically, one spouse is more knowledgeable about family finances. If you are the spouse that is less informed, now is your chance to get caught up – fast. In order to negotiate and participate meaningfully in the mediation process both spouses should be aware of what was owned and owed prior to the marriage, what has been acquired since the marriage, and what is currently owned and owed.
You and your spouse will decide how to divide or distribute all of your assets and debts so that you can achieve a financial divorce. Your assets are your home, retirement accounts, bank accounts, investment accounts, possessions, businesses, insurance policies, cars, etc. Your liabilities will include debts – such as your student loans, credit card debts, car loans, mortgage debt, etc. If you and your spouse do not agree on how to divide your assets and debts the Judge will do this for you based on the criteria in 61.075.
Feel free to Contact Rich Smukler with any questions (or) to schedule a complimentary 30 minute meeting via zoom or telephone.