Equitable Distribution in Florida is governed by Florida Statute §61.075. Equitable Distribution is the division of the parties’ marital assets and liabilities. It is not an equal distribution (½ of the house, ½ of the car, ½ of the 401K) but rather, equitable distribution, namely, a fair distribution to each party (one party gets the house as it is of the same value as the car and 401K, which the other party keeps).
The division of assets and liabilities is an important decision, as it cannot be reversed.
If the Court is forced to determine how your property is to be divided then the process has multiple steps: First, the Court must set aside those assets and liabilities that are not marital, as those cannot be considered by the Court in determining Equitable Distribution. What is included in “marital” assets and liabilities?
- 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, or both.
- Interspousal gifts during the marriage.
- All vested and nonvested benefits, rights, and funds accrued during the marriage in retirement, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, deferred compensation, and insurance plans and programs.
- All real property held by the parties as tenants by the entireties, whether acquired prior to or during the marriage, shall be presumed to be a marital asset. If, in any case, a party makes a claim to the contrary, the burden of proof shall be on the party asserting the claim that the subject property, or some portion thereof, is non marital.
- All personal property titled jointly by the parties as tenants by the entireties, whether acquired prior to or during the marriage, shall be presumed to be a marital asset. In the event a party makes a claim to the contrary, the burden of proof shall be on the party asserting the claim that the subject property, or some portion thereof, is nonmarital.
Nonmarital assets and liabilities include:
- Assets acquired and liabilities incurred by either party prior to the marriage, and assets acquired and liabilities incurred in exchange for such assets and liabilities;
- Assets acquired separately by either party by noninterspousal gift, bequest, devise, or descent, and assets acquired in exchange for such assets;
- 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;
- Assets and liabilities excluded from marital assets and liabilities by valid written agreement of the parties, and assets acquired and liabilities incurred in exchange for such assets and liabilities; and
- Any liability incurred by forgery or unauthorized signature of one spouse signing the name of the other spouse. Any such liability shall be a nonmarital liability only of the party having committed the forgery or having affixed the unauthorized signature.