Equitable Distribution

In a dissolution of marriage proceeding, the court establishes and equitably distributes the parties’ marital assets and liabilities.  Non-marital assets and liabilities are those that areacquired prior to marriage, and generally speaking, a party usually keeps his or her own non-marital assets and liabilities. There are exceptions to this rule, however, depending on certain activities that may happen during the marriage. Marital assets and liabilities, on the other hand, are items that are acquired during the marriage, and the court begins its equitable distribution scheme with the premise that the division of marital assets should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution. The court follows Florida Statute section 61.075, in determining the distribution of the marital assets and liabilities.  The relevant factors include the following:

  1. The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker.
  2. The economic circumstances of the parties.
  3. The duration of the marriage.
  4. Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
  5. The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
  6. The desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party.
  7. The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets of the parties.
  8. The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so, it is in the best interest of the child or that party, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence until the child is emancipated or until exclusive possession is otherwise terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. In making this determination, the court shall first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, whether other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home.
  9. The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.
  10. Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.