What will happen to my assets if I get divorced?
If you are contemplating a divorce, you may be wondering what the potential impact on your assets will be. Does your spouse automatically get half of everything? Can you keep specific assets? How will divorce affect my retirement? What exactly qualifies as an asset? If you are asking any of these questions, contact a qualified family lawyer at Woodward, Pires & Lombardo; we are here to help educate you.
A knowledgeable family law attorney will inform you of how Florida statute and caselaw defines assets and liabilities as both marital and non-marital property, in any litigation. While the process is often straightforward, every case and each fact pattern is different, especially when there are more complicated assets involved, as seen in some retirement benefits, family-owned businesses or high net worth holdings. Importantly, there are even situations where there are both marital and non-marital components in a single asset or liability. It is imperative to understand the possibility of an otherwise non-marital, separate property being classified as marital property under Florida law. A seasoned family lawyer will explain the nuances and answer any questions you have when trying to protect your interests during the process.
It is imperative to have an experienced attorney, like a Naples divorce attorney, educate you, help you settle your matter fairly, or fight for you if the case requires litigation.
The following includes some general ways Florida law addresses assets and liabilities during divorce:
As part of a divorce, homeowners wanting to sell a home or other real property may require a separate partition claim. If the Court grants the partition action, the house may be sold or divided among the parties. Distribution of the proceeds will also be handled based on either an agreement or ultimately the Court’s equitable distribution scheme.
Despite our affection for Fido, he is not our child; He is our pet. Florida divorce law states that pets are property. Therefore, the courts do not order custody or time-sharing for pets. The couple will have to work those issues out among themselves if they want to share custody of the pet. Otherwise, Fido will be negotiated or awarded as any other asset per equitable distribution.
Debt, i.e., Credit Cards, Student Loans, and Other Liabilities
When it comes to debt, like credit cards or student loans, it is typically classified as marital property if acquired during the marriage. Even if only one person in the marriage is on the account, joint liability is true. And thus, this debt is subject to equitable distribution.
Premarital agreements, commonly referred to as “prenups,” are legally binding contracts, like any other, which include terms and provisions the couple agreed on before getting married. These agreements often determine how debts, alimony, assets and more get distributed if they divorce.
However, Florida divorce law has some very specific rules as they pertain to premarital and post-marital agreements. For example, did you know that despite any language addressing waivers of temporary support, you may be able to challenge the provision successfully? Additionally, many parenting agreements preemptively made by these types of agreements may be set aside.
The Possibility of Receiving Over Half of The Marital Property- Equitable versus Equal Division
There are instances where some divorcees may receive greater than 50% of the marital property. In general, a Florida judge starts with the premise of dividing marital property equally between the couple. However, Florida is not a 50/50 state by law. Instead, we are an equitable distribution state, meaning the assets and liabilities are divided fairly and equitably, not necessarily equally. Your Naples divorce lawyer will explain if there is legal, sufficient justification for an unequal distribution. Please note that obtaining an unequal marital asset distribution in Florida can be challenging without the expertise and guidance of an experienced divorce attorney.
How an Attorney Can Help
If you are reading this article and have questions and concerns about your divorce’s impact on your finances, it is critical to have a Florida divorce attorney. As mentioned before, hiring such a lawyer can help you whether you and your spouse agree or contest some assets. In addition, a family lawyer will take you step-by-step with all the legalities and paperwork that their client is looking for and more.
They will also fight for you in a court of law. If there is a legal argument sufficiently justifying an unequal distribution, they will fight for you in Court, ensuring you properly and adequately make your divorce case before the judge.
If need be, your lawyer will hire necessary experts, including forensic accountants and other professionals who can determine the existence and help uncover hidden assets. If there are hidden assets, they will make those assets known. Financial discovery can be complicated to prepare as well as making sure you are receiving full asset disclosure. The right lawyer will go the extra mile for you.
For More Information
Make sure your rights are protected. If you are going through a divorce and have concerns about assets, contact Woodward Pires & Lombardo (WPL) attorneys at law today. For over 50 years, WPL divorce attorneys in Naples, FL have been providing top-notch legal services in the state of Florida. So, contact them now, and a divorce attorney in Naples FL will assist you asap. Call (239) 649-6555 or see www.wpl-legal.com.
About the Author
Ross E. Schulman is a top-rated Florida family law attorney in the Naples office of Woodward, Pires & Lombardo, P.A. He is a Certified Financial Litigator, has earned his designation as a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and is licensed to practice law in Florida and New York. Ross works with clients regarding the dissolution of marriage, pre/postnuptial agreements, paternity, custody, mediation and litigation. Along with our other Naples divorce attorneys, Ross is highly qualified to help you handle a wide variety of challenges. Contact Ross at RSchulman@wpl-legal.com.
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