If you are going through a divorce in Florida, then one of the major areas of concern has to deal with how to divide up the marital estate. In order to fairly or “equitably” distribute the marital estate, it must first be determined what exactly is the marital estate.
In Florida, the marital estate consists of marital assets and liabilities. A marital asset or liability is any asset or liability that was obtained during the marriage, with a few exceptions. But essentially, if something was obtained during the marriage, then it is considered marital property in the eyes of the law. Marital property in a divorce context does not only consist of land and homes, commonly referred to as “real property,” but also other tangible items like automobiles, paintings, furniture, jewelry, boats, guns, and on and on.
What people going through a divorce sometimes do not realize though is that intangible items, such as retirement accounts, pension plans, annuities, and even some life insurance policies are also considered marital property. All of these items are subject to what is called in Florida divorce law as “equitable distribution.” This means that under Florida law, the court will equitably, or fairly, distribute these marital assets between the parties. Regardless of who acquired the assets, the court will usually distribute the marital estate equally between the parties. This means that even if you did not work, but your spouse did, almost anything obtained during the marriage could be equally divided by the court during the divorce.
But what if you aren’t sure what your spouse has? Perhaps he or she does not keep you informed about their assets and debts. In Florida, there is “mandatory disclosure” in all family law cases, including divorces. That means that your spouse will have to provide information regarding all of his or her accounts and assets. If they refuse to provide such information willingly, then it can be subpoenaed from their bank, credit union, or employer.
If you have any questions regarding asset or property division in the context of a divorce, then do not hesitate to give us a call at (904) 355-2700. One of our experienced, aggressive divorce attorneys will be happy to confidentially discuss your case with you. Makofka & Makofka, Jacksonville family law attorneys, help those going through a divorce in Northeast Florida, including Duval, St. Johns, Nassau, Clay, and Baker Counties.