Handling Assets and Debts in a Divorce

SMRL Law Firm serving Sarasota County, Bradenton, Lakewood Ranch, North Port, Venice, & throughout the state of Florida

Dividing assets in a divorce can be complicated. The first step after finding an experienced and compassionate Sarasota area divorce lawyer is to identify each asset or debt as “marital” or “nonmarital”.

Nonmarital assets are generally those acquired prior to the marriage, or assets which were acquired from the proceeds of those assets. Some assets obtained during the marriage, such as those from an inheritance or a legal settlement, may be considered nonmarital. Frequently, decisions made during the marriage can convert a nonmarital asset to a marital one. The spouse who claims that an asset is nonmarital has the burden of proving it, and careful record keeping is crucial.

All marital assets are equitably distributed between the spouses, with the presumption that the distribution will be equal. Several factors can affect distribution, including the duration of the marriage, the contribution of each spouse, the economic circumstances of each spouse, whether one spouse voluntarily interrupted his or her career for the sake of the marriage, the marital misconduct or intentional waste of assets by either spouse, and many others.

After the assets and debts are decided, one spouse may have a valid claim for alimony. The law in Florida is evolving, and there are now four types of alimony available after the divorce is final: durational alimony, “bridge the gap” alimony, rehabilitative alimony, and permanent alimony. The length of the marriage is generally the critical factor here. Any alimony award must be based on the needs of the receiving spouse, and the ability of the other to pay.

If you have additional questions, please call our Family Law Department to talk with one of our Sarasota Divorce Attorneys at (941) 365-7171 .