When Can A Judge Order Unequal Distribution Of Marital Assets In Florida?
When it comes to dividing marital property during divorce, Florida follows a rule known as “equitable distribution.” This does not mean that Florida is a 50/50 state. Instead, it means that marital property is divided between divorcing couples fairly and equitably during divorce in Florida. Generally, the terms “equitable” and “equal” are not the same. However, according to Florida Statute 61.075, in a divorce proceeding, when distributing marital assets between parties, a judge is required to begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal. In Florida, family courts can only order unequal distribution of marital assets if there is a justification for such distribution based on all relevant factors. Unequal distribution of assets occurs when one spouse gets more assets than the other spouse in a divorce settlement.
Factors Considered During the Distribution of Marital Assets
Florida courts take several factors into consideration when determining how to distribute marital property between divorcing individuals. Some of these factors include;
- Each party’s contribution to the marriage
- Each party’s economic circumstances
- The length of the marriage
- The earning capacity of each spouse
- Each spouse’s health
- The desirability of retaining an asset
- The contribution of a spouse towards the other spouse’s education or career
- Each spouse’s assets and debts
After considering the above and many other factors, a Florida judge will then decide if to order equal or unequal distribution of marital assets.
When Can a Judge Order Unequal Distribution of Marital Assets?
If, after evaluating all relevant factors, the court finds there is a justified reason for an unequal distribution, then it will order such a distribution. Generally, if the court finds that unequal distribution is fair and just under the circumstances, it will order such a distribution.
The following are some of the main factors that can lead to the court ordering unequal distribution of marital assets:
- Larger Contribution of Marital Assets: Sometimes, one spouse contributes more marital assets than the other during the marriage. In such a case, the court is allowed to order unequal distribution. Basically, if you used your non-marital funds to buy an asset, you can argue for an unequal distribution of that particular asset.
- Spousal Misconduct: It is crucial to note that marital misconduct, such as engaging in adultery, does not automatically lead to unequal distribution. However, if such conduct results in the reduction of marital assets, unequal distribution of marital assets may be ordered.
- Intentional Depletion of Assets: If one party intentionally wasted or depleted marital assets during the marriage for their own gain and at the expense of their spouse, the court can order unequal distribution.
- Disparity in Financial Conditions: If the court determines that one party will be exposed to more financial resources after a divorce than the other, then it will most likely order unequal distribution.
- Disability: Suppose one spouse has a permanent disability that prevents them from, for example, being employed and earning an income, and the other is healthy and employable. In such a case, the court might end up ordering unequal distribution.
There are many more circumstances that can warrant a judge ordering unequal distribution of marital assets, so it is best you speak to a qualified lawyer to learn more.
If you need more information on when a judge can order unequal distribution of marital assets in Florida, contact a knowledgeable Orlando property division attorney at Arwani Law Firm. Call Arwani Law Firm today at 407-254-0060 to schedule a consultation with our lawyer Rania Arwani.