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Palm Harbor Property Division Lawyers
Protecting Your Assets & Rights
Property division is often one of the most contentious parts of the divorce process. If you and your soon-to-be-ex disagree on how to distribute assets and liabilities, reaching a mutually beneficial compromise can be tricky.
The outcome of your property division case can substantially impact your financial stability post-divorce. At K. Dean Kantaras, P.A., our Palm Harbor property division attorneys are committed to protecting your rights and pursuing the best possible outcome in your property division case.
To schedule a consultation with our team, contact us online or via phone at (727) 939-6113.
Separate Versus Marital Property
If you're engaging in a property division dispute, understanding the difference between separate and marital property is vital.
Separate property applies to assets and liabilities owned by only one spouse, such as something they acquired pre-marriage or a gift from a family member.
Marital property applies to assets and liabilities owned by both spouses, or that both spouses contribute to in a meaningful way.
Separate property can transform into marital property over time. For example, let's say you buy a house by yourself before you meet your current spouse. After you get married, your spouse pays to remodel the garden and add another bedroom onto the house. The house may now be considered marital property by the court since both parties have significantly contributed to its value.
Florida Is an Equitable Distribution State
Florida courts use equitable distribution statues when deciding property division disputes. An “equitable” division does not mean that the court splits property 50/50 between the parties. In fact, it’s fairly rare for the court to award an equal amount of property to each property.
During property division, the court tries to secure an outcome that enables each spouse to maintain a good quality of life post-divorce, depending on the circumstances of the case. Courts consider the following factors:
- Each spouse's income and earning potential;
- The length of their marriage;
- Whether they share any minor children;
- Their assets and debts;
- Their physical and mental health;
- Whether one spouse made career sacrifices or contributed significantly to their partner's career (paying for training or school for their spouse, for example);
- Anything else the court considers important (for example, if domestic violence played a role in the marriage, the court may factor that into the property division process).
Based on these factors, the court develops a property division arrangement that the judge presiding over the case considers "equitable."
Let's go back to our example of the house. Let's say that the spouse who paid for the garden remodel and add-on contributed less to the property monetarily than the spouse who bought the house. The court may:
- Ask the spouses to sell the house, and award a greater portion of the profits to the spouse who originally bought the house;
- Allow the original owner to keep the house, if they pay their spouse back for the garden remodel and add-on (including how much those additions increased the value of the house);
- Allow the spouse who paid for the garden remodel and add-on to keep the house, as long as they pay the original owner a majority of the home's value.
These are just some ways the court might divide property. How courts handle the property division process varies on a case-by-case basis. For example, in circumstances where spouses share minor children, it's not uncommon for the court to award the marital home to the custodial parent to help them care for the children.
Negotiating equitable terms for the property division process with your spouse in an out-of-court process, like mediation or collaborative divorce, can help you avoid involving the court in your property division case. Resolving your property division case out of court can help you reach a more satisfactory arrangement with your soon-to-be-ex.
At K. Dean Kantaras, P.A., our Palm Harbor property division lawyers are here to help you navigate the property division process. Whether you want to handle your case in or out of the courtroom, we'll be by your side every step of the way.
To schedule a consultation with our team or learn more about our services, contact us online or via phone at (727) 939-6113.
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