At Ellis and Bryant, P.A., we represent people from Northeast Florida in a wide range of family law matters, including those related to the division of assets in a divorce proceeding. We understand that a divorce can be stressful for everyone involved. Our Jacksonville property division lawyers work actively to resolve the various legal issues that come up efficiently, while ensuring that our clients’ rights and interests are advanced and that their future is protected. We are committed to guiding people through the unexpected twists and turns that can arise in the legal process with compassion and professionalism.The Property Division Process in a Florida Divorce
When spouses decide to split, there are often a number of complicated legal questions to be resolved in untangling the marriage. These include what to do with the family home and other assets, like cars, bank accounts, and retirement savings plans.
An important distinction to make at the outset of the process is whether a certain asset is marital or separate. Marital property includes any asset gained by one or both spouses during the course of the marriage, with a few exceptions like inheritances. Separate property was acquired or received by only one spouse outside the marriage. The property division process applies only to marital property, and each spouse is entitled to keep 100% of their separate property.
In dividing marital property, Florida uses an equitable distribution system, which requires judges to divide property in a way that is reasonable based on the circumstances. This often means a 50-50 split, but other arrangements may also be warranted, depending on the situation. Courts consider a number of factors in deciding how to divide property, and a property division attorney can advise Jacksonville residents on which factors are likely to be relevant in their case. The factors include each spouse’s respective financial and child care contributions during the marriage, as well as their economic circumstances and the length of the marriage. Judges also take into account any evidence that one spouse has intentionally harmed or decreased the value of marital property in expectation of the divorce. A professional degree or accreditation is not considered marital property per se, but one spouse’s efforts to help the other spouse attain educational or career goals may also be part of the puzzle. No single factor is likely to make or break a case. Instead, courts look at the circumstances as a whole.
Since property cannot always be split evenly in half, one spouse in some cases may be forced to make an equalization payment to the other spouse. A divorcing spouse who wants to stay in the family home, for instance, may need to buy out the other person’s interest in the property, or they may need to surrender their share in another asset of comparable value.
If you happen to agree with your spouse about how to divide your property, among other major issues, Florida offers a simplified divorce procedure. You must agree that the marriage is “irretrievably broken,” a generic legal term that allows the couple to divorce without needing to blame each other for the split. The divorcing spouses additionally must not have any children under 18, and alimony must not be involved. Spouses who do not meet these requirements need to go through a more traditional legal process in order to get a divorce.Retain a Jacksonville Property Division Attorney to Protect Your Interests
At Ellis and Bryant, we are committed to helping clients resolve legal issues related to a divorce without drawn-out court battles whenever possible. We have nearly two decades of combined legal experience and a solid track record of getting favorable results for the people whom we represent, whether their divorce involves complex property division or other contested matters like child custody and support. Our attorneys recognize that each case is different. We take the time to understand each and every client’s individual situation, and we are proud to assist our neighbors in the community in their times of need. Call us at (904) 551-4120 or contact us online to speak with a property division lawyer in the Jacksonville area about your case today.