What is equitable distribution?
It is the division of property rights and obligation between spouses during divorce. Something that you might have not known is that all states except for Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin follow the principles of equitable distribution.
Individuals often have several doubts about how these laws work. Justia, a Law and Legal Information Center, states that these are some of the most frequent questions asked: If my spouse and I agree on how we should divide our property, do we have to rely on equitable distribution laws?
The answer is no. “A court will only engage in equitable distribution if a divorcing couple is unable to negotiate a property settlement”. If you and your spouse can derive to an agreement and divide a portion of your estate, but not the entire estate, the court will step in to distribute the undivided portion.
Is all property subject to equitable distribution?
No. Equitable distribution applies only to marital property. Marital property is all property acquired during the marriage. Marital property does not include, however, property obtained during marriage by gift, bequest, devise or descent, or property otherwise provided for in a written agreement. Such property, along with any assets acquired before or after marriage, is considered the separate property of the acquiring spouse. If I hold title to an asset, is that asset my separate property?
Not necessarily. While a court may consider title as evidence of separate property, title in and of itself does not determine whether an asset is separate or marital property. How and when does a court value marital property?
Marital property is typically valued by it’s fair market value at the time the marital litigation is filed or commenced. However, because a period of months or years may elapse before a divorce decree becomes final, some states allow the parties to share in the appreciation or depreciation of marital assets between the date of separation and the date of divorce.
Because of the importance of property division and the fact that property division cannot be changed after divorce without proof of disclosure of assets, it is vital to understand Florida divorce laws. Backed by 15 years of experience, Mr. Levine helps clients understand divorce laws and advise them on their best options for their specific legal situation.