Is Florida a 50/50 Divorce State?

is florida a 50/50 divorce state

A top question our Florida divorce attorney team hears is, “Is Florida a 50/50 divorce state?” One of the top concerns for divorcing spouses in Florida is the division of separate property as well as marital assets and liabilities.

A divorcing couple can accumulate a long list of valuable marital property that needs to be separated fairly. Under Florida law, everything considered marital property is subject to equitable distribution rather than a 50/50 split.

This means that while the goal is to divide assets in a fair and equitable manner, this doesn’t mean that it’s always divided equally. Our experienced Tampa property division attorneys at Quinn & Lynch P.A. are here to break down what equitable distribution looks like in Florida, especially concerning your house and other significant assets acquired during the marriage. 

To ensure your property is divided equally, call our Tampa divorce lawyers at 813-223-7739.

Marital Property vs. Separate Property in a Florida Divorce

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In Florida, the distinction between marital property and separate property is crucial in how a spouse’s assets are divided during a divorce.

Marital Property

Marital property is sometimes referred to as community property in community property states.

Marital property includes marital assets and liabilities acquired by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title. Marital assets and marital debts can encompass real estate, vehicles, a joint bank account, retirement accounts, credit card balances, etc. In Florida, every marital asset is subject to equitable distribution.

Non-Marital Property or Separate Property

Non-marital property, or separate property, refers to nonmarital assets and debts that a spouse acquired before getting married. Non-marital property may include a family home a spouse owned before the marriage, inheritances received individually, and gifts given specifically to one spouse. In Florida, each spouse is usually entitled to their own separate property or personal property. In other words, non-marital assets, which are considered non-marital property, are not subject to equitable distribution.

It’s important to note that separate property or non-marital assets can be considered marital property if they are commingled with other community assets or used for the benefit of the marriage.

Is Florida a Community Property State?

One common question our family law attorneys receive is – is Florida a community property state? And if not, how are marital assets divided in a Florida divorce?

So, how is property divided under Florida Law assuming there is no prenuptial agreement, the marriage is valid and not a common law marriage in Florida, or there wasn’t a marriage annulment in Florida?

Florida law does not follow the community property principle, which generally divides all marital property equally between spouses upon divorce. Instead, Florida law adheres to the equitable distribution model, which aims for a fair, but not necessarily equal, division of marital assets and liabilities.

Marital Asset Division in Florida Divorce

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Florida law follows the equitable distribution model (a fair but unequal distribution model) according to Florida Statute 61.075.

Unequal distribution means that during a divorce case, Florida courts consider various factors to achieve an equitable distribution of liabilities/assets acquired during the marriage. So, the division of marital assets and liabilities could be divided 50/50, but equitable division could also result in a different ratio, such as 60/40 or 70/30, depending on the circumstances of the divorce case.

Who Gets the House in a Divorce in Florida?

The marital home is the largest asset for most divorcing couples, making the question of ‘who gets the house in a divorce’ a significant concern.

Since Florida is an equitable distribution state, the process involves dividing assets based on their value rather than an automatic equal split. This means the initial step in deciding which spouse gets the house or property hinges on determining the monetary value of the marital home. Once this valuation is established, couples are faced with the following three options for determining who gets the house:

Marital Home Goes to Primary Caregiver

When determining ‘who gets the house,’ the court may award this marital property to the primary caregiver or parent with more child custody time. This decision is often made to maintain stability and continuity in the children’s lives.

Spousal Buyout of Marital Home

Another option is for one spouse to buy out the other’s interest in the marital property. This arrangement means that only one spouse owns the home. This requires the one spouse to compensate the other spouse for their share of the equity in the particular asset.

Selling the Marital Home

Sometimes, the best solution is to sell the home and divide the proceeds between the spouses. This is often the case when neither spouse can afford to maintain the home independently, or both parties agree that selling the marital property is the best option.

Mortgage Issues After a Florida Divorce

Following the decision on the equitable division of a marital home, mortgage responsibilities post-divorce present another problem. If one spouse acquired the house, it’s crucial to address the joint mortgage, which may still be in the other spouse’s name. If one spouse fails to pay and the bank doesn’t consent to such agreement, both spouses may still be liable to the bank.

The ideal solution is for the spouse keeping the house to refinance the mortgage with only his or her name.

Consulting with a Tampa divorce attorney at Quinn & Lynch P.A. is critical to ensuring you’re treated fairly and that the agreement is financially feasible for all parties involved. A skilled divorce attorney can ensure that all marital property is divided as fairly and equitably as possible, including the family home.

Depending on the agreed-upon arrangement—whether it’s one spouse keeping the house, initiating a buyout, or selling the property and distributing the proceeds—an attorney can ensure the proper removal of financial obligations from the departing spouse.

Factors that Affect the Division of Marital Assets in Florida Divorce

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Many factors are considered when determining fair and equitable distribution in a Florida divorce settlement. The ultimate goal is to achieve fairness based on the circumstances surrounding the marriage and its dissolution, so to do that, a Florida judge may consider these factors:

Duration of the Marriage: Longer marriages may see a more intertwined financial relationship. This means more marital assets are subject to equitable distribution.

Economic Circumstances of Each Spouse: Judges assess each spouse’s financial situation post-divorce, aiming for an equitable division of marital property that leaves both parties on stable footing.

Contributions to the Marriage: If one spouse worked while the other spouse contributed to the home, sacrificing his or her personal career or education for the advancement of the marriage or raising children, this is considered when dividing assets.

Contribution to the Increase in Value of Marital Assets: If one spouse contributed to enhancing the value of marital assets, this would be considered when dividing assets.

Desirability of Retaining a Particular Asset: The importance of keeping a certain marital asset, like a business or professional practice, undivided for its continued viability is considered in the divorce settlement.

Contribution to Marital Liability and Debt Accumulation: Each spouse’s role in accruing a marital liability or debt (such as student loans or credit card debt) during the marriage is also evaluated.

Each Spouse’s Health and Physical Condition: Health and age can impact earning capacity and needs, influencing how assets and alimony are allocated between a divorcing couple.

These factors, among others, allow judges to tailor their decisions to the unique aspects of each divorce case, striving for a valid written agreement that is just and reasonable for the divorcing couple under Florida law.

Factors That May Result in Unequal Property Division in a Florida Divorce

In Florida divorces, while equitable distribution aims for fairness, certain circumstances can lead to unequal division of marital assets. The court considers these exceptions to address specific issues or behaviors that warrant deviation from an equal split.

Key factors include:

  • Wasteful Dissipation of Marital Assets: If one spouse has recklessly squandered marital funds or marital property, this could justify awarding a larger portion of the remaining marital assets to the other spouse.
  • Economic Misconduct: Engaging in activities like hiding, depleting, or diverting marital assets or marital funds can result in compensatory adjustments to the wronged spouse.
  • One Spouse’s Contribution to the Other’s Career or Education: Significant investment in the professional or educational advancement of one spouse can influence a shift in marital asset allocation.
  • Custodial Responsibilities for Minor Children: The child support needs of one parent might necessitate awarding that parent a larger share of marital property, including the marital home.
  • Health and Age of the Spouses: Chronic illness or age-related concerns that affect earning potential or healthcare needs might lead to an adjusted division of marital property favoring the impacted spouse.

These factors highlight the court’s discretion in tailoring the division of marital property to the unique circumstances of each case, ensuring equitable division, even if not strictly equal.

How Long Do You Have to Be Married to Get Half of Everything in Florida?

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In Florida, there is no specific duration of marriage that automatically entitles one spouse to half of everything in a divorce. Marital assets and liabilities that are subject to equitable distribution are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, based on factors such as each spouse’s financial circumstances, contributions to the marriage, and the duration of the marriage. While the length of the marriage is considered, it is just one of many factors the court evaluates to determine a fair division of assets.

Tampa Property Division Attorneys

Navigating the complexities of property division during a divorce can be overwhelming. Whether you’re worried your ex-spouse will clean out your bank account or if you want to move on from this extremely difficult period, our Tampa property division attorneys are dedicated to providing compassionate, knowledgeable legal guidance to ensure your rights are protected and a fair resolution is achieved in your divorce case. Whether you’re facing a straightforward or highly contentious divorce, our team is equipped to handle the nuances of your case, striving to help you get your fair share out of the dissolved marriage.

If you’re struggling to divide assets during your Florida divorce, don’t hesitate to contact Quinn & Lynch P.A. Our experienced attorneys are committed to helping you navigate the legal process confidently, ensuring your interests are safeguarded at every step. Contact us today at 813-223-7739 to discuss your case and learn how we can assist you in achieving a just and equitable resolution to your property division concerns.

Contact Our Experienced, Dedicated Divorce & Family Law Lawyers Today

As a dedicated family law practice in the Tampa Bay area, we work one on one with our clients, resulting in representation that is characterized by genuine care and understanding. If you are dealing with divorce or other family law issues, please contact at 813-223-7739  to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family and divorce attorneys.