In any divorce or dissolution of marriage, an area of great concern(s) is the division of assets and debts. In Florida, the law provides for an "equitable distribution" of marital assets and liabilities. While a divorce court must begin with the presumption that marital assets and liabilities are to be divided equally, the court may distribute the marital estate fairly or "equitably" instead. Fair is not always equal. Factors to be considered include the contribution of each spouse to the marriage; the duration of the marriage; and the economic circumstances of each spouse. Alimony is determined after equitable distribution.
In divorces, a large asset for most people is their retirement or pension. A pension or retirement account is likely a marital asset that has to be divided by the divorce court. If a spouse began saving for retirement before the marriage, or if it is a second or subsequent divorce, then all of the pension may not be a part of the marital estate.
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.