Florida: How Does Marital Property Get Divided?

When you got married, you and your spouse may have adopted a “share and share alike” mentality — or, maybe you didn’t. Either way, if your marriage comes to an end, you have to start dividing things back up according to Florida’s rules.

Unlike those states that have a community property rule, Florida takes the approach that marital property has to be divided “equitably.” Essentially, that means that a court will first decide what part of a couple’s assets are jointly owned and which ones belong solely to one party or the other. The court may then start with the idea that the marital assets should be divided 50-50 until they consider the following factors:

  • One spouse is “at-fault” for the divorce, due to adultery, domestic violence or some other reason that puts the innocent spouse at a disadvantage
  • One spouse is of advanced age, disabled or otherwise unable to provide adequately for themselves, and the other spouse is not
  • One spouse earns significantly less than the other and lacks the capacity or opportunity to earn more or be self-supporting for whatever reason
  • One spouse expects to inherit a significant amount of money or simply is significantly better off than the other
  • One spouse has already wasted a significant amount of the marital assets (by gambling, drinking, using drugs, spending money on elaborate gifts for extramarital partners and so on)

For the most part, the court is looking to create a fair situation — and fair isn’t always equal. Because each situation is unique, it’s wise to get advice from an experienced attorney about your case so that you can better anticipate how a judge may rule on the division of your marital assets.