When married couples acquire property together, the law considers that property jointly owned. Jointly owned assets can be difficult to divide in the event of a divorce, and this distribution can become a heated conflict that requires legal assistance to resolve.
If you are struggling to divide your assets with your former partner, West Palm Beach property division lawyer Charles D. Jamieson could ensure help you reach a fair agreement. The laws involving property division in Florida are nuanced and complex, so it may be beneficial to have the advice of a legal professional in Palm Beach County.
How Courts Determine Property Division
In some states, the court will divide property between divorcing couples in an even half and half. Florida does not divide property in this manner. Florida courts divide marital property equitably between the parties. In doing so, the Court commences with the premise that marital property should be divided equally. Florida courts look at many different factors when determining a fair marital property division.
Some common issues that impact this decision include:
- The economic circumstances of each party
- Each party’s contribution to the marriage
- Each party’s educational opportunities and their contributions to the other party’s educational opportunities
- The duration of the marriage
One of the most important assets in many cases is the marital home. When it comes to determining who gets the home, the status of the children’s residence might also come into play. When possible, the courts often agree that the children should remain in the home with the custodial parent until the youngest child reaches the age of 18.
Each case will have unique factors that the court must consider, and a Palm Beach county property division attorney could determine which factors are applicable in an individual case.
How Courts Place Values on Property
A court divides marital property with the goal of reaching a fair distribution of assets. However, to determine that the division is fair, the court must understand the value of the various assets. Not every asset will have a clear value.
If the value of assets is not obvious, and the parties do not agree on the value, then the court must find a way to determine it. Sometimes parties may need to hire experts who can appraise a specific asset, such as artwork or property.
Property That is Not Considered Marital
Some property does not go into the marital estate and belongs to only one of the parties. In most cases, the inheritance will belong to the spouse who inherited the property, funds, or assets. Gifts are addressed in a similar manner and will typically belong to the gift recipient and not the couple.
Each party’s property before the marriage belongs to the parties as individuals and is not divided. There are exceptions in all of these cases, though, based on certain facts.
If a party inherited property and then co-mingled it with marital property, their inheritance will become part of the jointly owned assets. This situation can occur if, for example, one of the parties uses their inheritance to help fund the marital home. In some cases, the courts must determine which property the individuals jointly own versus assets that they own individually.
Pensions, Retirement Accounts, and Businesses
The law states that pensions and retirement accounts earned during the marriage are marital property, so the court may divide these accounts among the parties. Palm Beach County courts might find creative ways of dividing these assets as long as they reach an equitable outcome.
If the couple or either party started a business during the marriage, that business is considered marital property. A property division attorney in West Palm Beach could look at the business’s value and help find a way to divide that value between the parties.
Speak with a Palm Beach County Property Division Attorney Today
Property division is frequently a contentious part of a divorce. Finding a solution that works for everyone involved will likely require legal and financial advice.
If you are involved in or considering a divorce, there are many issues that you may need to consider. Consulting an experienced West Palm Beach property division lawyer could help you determine the best course of action in your case. Call The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. today to get started.