Because Florida is a no-fault divorce state, assets and debts are often divided equally between spouses. However, that is more of a generalization than a rule. In fact, there are exceptions in the law regarding division of both. The financial implications can be significant if you do not have an experienced divorce lawyer helping you through the process.
Divisions of Debt
There is a misconception in Florida that because it is a no-fault divorce state that everything is split 50/50. This is one of the biggest mistakes an individual handling their own divorce can make. Florida divorce law classifies debt into three categories:
- Premarital debt – Any debt either party had prior to the marriage including student loans and credit card debt.
- Non-marital debt – This is debt with only one party’s name on it where the other party did not benefit from the debt.
- Marital debt – Any debt incurred jointly during the marriage is considered marital debt unless one party incurred the debt for something other than the family.
Premarital debt is almost always assigned to the party who incurred the debt. Non-marital debt is often assigned the same way. Marital debt can be more complicated. For example, if a spouse used a credit card to finance an affair, that debt could be assigned solely to that individual. An experienced divorce lawyer will help avoid paying your spouse’s debts. Additionally, if one spouse has a significantly greater income than the other, the debts may be split in an equitable fashion rather than half for each party.
Assets are classified into non- or pre-marital property and marital property. However, like debts, there are exceptions to asset division that an experienced divorce lawyer can apply in your divorce. It is important that pre-marital property is identified and separated from the assets. Some examples of non-marital property include inheritance (whether received before or during the marriage), income from nonmarital assets, or assets owned prior to marriage.
Marital assets and property are not always divided equally. Many factors may influence whether each party receives an equal share. Some of those factors include:
- Length of marriage
- Spouse’s individual contributions to the marriage
- One spouse’s intentional destruction of marital assets
A prenuptial agreement supersedes the equal distribution of assets.
Looking for an Experienced Divorce Lawyer? Call Wagstaff & Pitelis
Our team of experienced divorce lawyers are ready to help you with your divorce, no matter how simple or complex. We can help you and your spouse reach an agreement through mediation, collaboration, or in front of a judge. Call (727) 584-8182 today for your initial consultation or fill out our contact form.