Equitable Distribution in Florida



            Florida, unlike states such is California, is not a Community Property state.  In a Community Property state, most of the assets acquired during the marriage are owned jointly between spouses.  In a divorce the assets (and liabilities) are to be split in half between the parties.


            Florida, on the other hand, is an Equitable Distribution jurisdiction.  Under Equitable Jurisdiction, a court is required to do what is “fair” or equitable in relation to the assets and liabilities.  This does not automatically mean 50/50.  Under Equitable Distribution the court does start with the presumption that the assets and liabilities should be split equally.  This presumption is overcome by factors indicating that the assets and liabilities should not be shared equally.


            In Equitable Jurisdiction in Florida, the court must rely on “Competent” and “Substantial Evidence”, not merely on testimony or on speculation.


            The court will first set aside non-marital assets and liabilities, such as certain of those assets and liabilities that were obtained prior to the marriage.  However, certain increases in the value of assets acquired prior to marriage that occur during the marriage can be subject to Equitable Distribution.


            Court will then look at a number of factors to determine whether an unequal distribution of the assets is warranted.  Some of these factors are the respective contributions to the marriage by the parties, the financial circumstances of the parties, and the duration of the marriage, to name a few.




Michael D. Stewart, Esq.

Law Offices of Michael D. Stewart

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Miami, Florida 33131



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This article, like all articles on this site, is for information purposes only.  If you have a specific issues, contact an attorney.


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