A major concern for any couple getting divorced is how their property gets divided up. After thinking of the children (if they are parents,) most minds starting a divorce turn towards logistical questions. Who gets to live in the house? Who gets to keep the car? How much of the bank account gets up in my pocket?
Florida's method for property division, while simple, may surprise most people. To put it simply: all property, assets, and debts that were acquired during the marriage are split evenly. Each spouse gets fifty percent. In Florida, it does not matter whose name it is under. It just matters if it was acquired during the time of the marriage.
So what does that mean in practicality? Unless you have a Prenuptial Agreement in place, when you get married, you become one entity with your spouse. For legal purposes, two separate people become one single entity. Anything that either of you purchase individually - whether it is a business, a boat, or a bag of chips - was purchased by the couple. This applies to everything, regardless of whose name is on it, from the day you get married until the day you file for divorce.
Practically, this means that each spouse now owns fifty percent of all property acquired during the marriage. If you bought cars during the marriage, you now own half of each of them. If you bought a house during the marriage, you now own half of it. It does not matter whose name is on the deed. If you own a business that you started during the marriage, your spouse now owns half of it.
Things can get complicated, too. If you bought a house prior to the marriage but made renovations on it during the marriage, those renovated parts of the house are considered marital property while the original parts are nonmarital. It gets that compartmental in division.
The same holds true with assets, for better or worse. Even if only one spouse had a job throughout the entire marriage, in Florida all remaining money will be split evenly between the two spouses. That applies to all assets, not just income. We recently had a case where a husband had a large amount of Bitcoin in his name and was surprised to learn he had to share that evenly with his wife.
Now, the equal division applies to debts as well as assets. If one spouse took out a large business or home loan at some point during the marriage, the other spouse is now liable to pay back half of the loan.
It is important to note that this property division only applies until the day the divorce was filed, not finalized. That means if you have filed for divorce, you can feel free to start dividing up things yourself. Don't take all of it - take half of it, because you now own half of it. The court will do this for you eventually if you don't do it yourself, but you can feel free to get a jump start.
If you are going through a divorce in Florida, we can help you gain the freedom and peace of mind you deserve. Contact Florida Divorce Law Group today to speak to someone who cares. We serve all of Florida and are dedicated to protecting your rights!