In the State of Florida, the division of marital property, assets, and liabilities of a marriage during a divorce is referred to as Equitable Distribution. Some states call marital property community property. Essentially, the state will take a financial snapshot usually on that they that the parties file for divorce. In some cases, we look at the date that the parties separated.
The date that the financial snapshot is taken is discretionary by the court. In cases where the parties have been separated for several years, the date of separation will be the start date. The marital financial snapshot will include all the marital property, assets, and liabilities. Marital assets may also include accounts that are in just one of the party’s names, separate credit card accounts, and even that that a single individual in the marriage of accumulated during the marriage. Even though these accounts may have been obtained and managed solely by only one of the spouses, it is still considered combined debt when dealing with equitable distribution, and both parties are equally responsible for the debt.
One of the big issues, of course, his retirement assets. Let’s say one of the party’s work for a business for 30 years, but they were only married for 20 years. In this case, the other spouse is entitled to the retirement assets from the date that they were married until the date they filed for divorce. The other spouse is not entitled to the full 30 years of retirement benefits and assets.
If you are thinking about getting a divorce, but are considering a period of separation first, you should know that the state of Florida does not have legal separation laws. This means that during the period of separation, and the debt accumulated by one or both parties will still be the responsibility of both parties in determining equitable distribution. Let’s say a couple decides to separate, and one spouse decides to run up thousands, or even tens of thousands of dollars in credit card bills and other debt while the parties were separated.
Because Florida does not have legal separation laws, this debt is shared debt between the divorcing spouses. One party cannot claim that they have no financial responsibility for what their divorcing spouse accumulated while you were separated. It is your debt too.
LAW OFFICE OF
GAIL CHEATWOOD, P.A.