Assets Stretch Further Than You May Think

October 10, 2011 by

One of the questions that I face most often on a daily basis is what constitutes "assets" for purposes of a divorce. Florida Statutes §61.075 provides that all marital assets be split through the process of equitable distribution. How does that apply to you? Generally, assets are split 50/50 between the spouses.

Obviously, you can't split a car or a house down the middle, so the court may order that certain assets be sold or that one spouse get certain items and the other get the remainder. The court will look at a number of factors to determine how to split assets fairly and equitably. These factors include the contributions of each spouse to the marriage, economic circumstances, duration of the marriage, and other factors relevant to the distribution. Marital assets include any assets accrued during the marriage - including those titled in one spouse's name alone.

There are some exceptions, however. Inheritance, personal injury proceeds, assets acquired before the marriage, and some gifts may be classified as non-marital property. Just because a person has these assets, though, does not mean that the other spouse does not have access. The court will look to see how these assets are commingled with other marital assets and their impact on the marriage when it was still whole.

As for assets that cause some surprise, many people are shocked to learn that any retirement accounts are a marital asset. Any value that accrued in a retirement account during the marriage is a marital asset, and each spouse is entitled to half of the value. There are numerous ways that that the retirement account can be dealt with, whether one spouse buys the other out, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, or through the distribution of some other asset in lieu of the retirement account.

While the prospect of splitting up so many assets is scary, remember that a Florida divorce and family law attorney can help you in making sure that yo get the possible arrangement. There is no set way to split up assets. If both spouses can settle, the possibilities are vast in making an arrangement that works for everyone.

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