Understanding Equitable Distribution
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the current divorce rate inthe United States is 3.4 per 1,000 population. Though this number is on the decline incomparison to previous years, so is the rate of marriage. This means that divorce is not at all anuncommon thing to those living in the United States.Though it is not uncommon, it is still likely to be a confusing and stressful experience. Thoseexperiencing the process of divorce have many things to consider, especially when dealing withthe division of various assets and liabilities of the parties in a fair manner. This is one of the most basic elements of divorce.When you get a divorce in Florida, all of your marital property must be divided equitably withyour spouse. One option that is used in some parts of the United States is a strict 50/50 split inwhich each spouse receives one half of the property. This is called the community propertyapproach. This does not take into account factors such as financial need or fault. The communityapproach is currently only used is about 9 states. Florida is not one of these states and thus takesa different approach to the division of assets.Another possible approach isequitable distribution. This approach looks at the financial situationthat each spouse will be in after the marriage is terminated. Most states employ this method as ameans of marital property division.This method is more flexible than the alternatives, but it can still be difficult to accurately predictthe situations each spouse will face. It is important to seek the counsel of an experienced familylaw and divorce attorney when faced with this situation. The process will likely be confusing andwill require the aid of one more experienced with the matter.
How Is This Assessed?
The court first determines what is considered to be marital property and what is considered to beseparate property. Property that was acquired during the marriage is legally considered marital property. Assets acquired before the marriage and after the day of separation are legally knownas separate property. Also, anything inherited or received as a gift during the marriage can beconsidered separate property. This is a very important step to take and accurately determine because separate property is
subject to the equitable distribution process (though it is stilltaken into consideration).
What Property is Considered?
One issue of potential confusion could come from the use of the word ³property´ and notknowing exactly what that could include. In this case, the term ³property´ includes everythingthat you own that could be considered an asset. This would include, but is not limited to: