In a proceeding for divorce, called dissolution of marriage in Florida, a substantial issue is the division of property owned by the spouses. First a divorce court will identify and separate each spouse’s marital and nonmarital assets and liabilities. Identification of assets and liabilities as marital or nonmarital is therefore very important because, only marital assets and liabilities are subject to distribution in a dissolution action.
Under current Florida divorce and family law, the court must begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal, unless there is a justification for an unequal distribution. The burden is on the person advocating for an unequal distribution to prove entitlement to the unequal distribution. A court should consider many factors in determining equitable distribution within a dissolution matter.
Factors include any contribution(s) to the marriage by each spouse, including the care and education of the children and services as homemaker, the economic circumstances of the parties, the duration of the marriage, and interruptions of careers, educational or other opportunities, contributions to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse. In addition, a divorce court should consider the desirability of keeping assets intact such as a business, professional practice, or the marital home as a residence for dependent children. Furthermore, a court should consider the contribution(s) of each spouse to the acquisition, improvement, production of income or the incurring or burdening of liabilities to both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets. A family court should also look to any evidence of intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets within two (2) years prior to the filing of the petition. There is also a catch-all clause in Florida family that allows the court to consider “[a]ny other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.”
Because dissolution of marriage or divorce is a civil case, a person is not entitled to have a lawyer appointed. If an attorney is desired, then an attorney must be hired. In all family matters, any law firm should perform a conflict check before you set a meeting; we should too. After consulting with one spouse, the firm could never consult with the other party or represent them. Therefore, the firm does charge a consultation fee in family cases. Please, click, call or fill out the form to begin the process of hiring an attorney. Any information gathered will be kept confidential.