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Equitable Distribution

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Equitable Distribution Attorneys in Naples

Ensuring you get what you deserve. Call us at (239) 309-2006 to schedule a consultation!

You never imagined you would face losing the house you and your spouse worked so hard for and made into a home where you raised your children and celebrated family traditions. Now, your spouse wants it and there is a chance it might have to be sold.

During the divorce, you will have to decide whether you or your spouse will take ownership of everything from bathroom towels to the stock portfolios. Suddenly, you find yourself having a strong attachment to the lamp in the living room and the holiday ornaments in the garage. Why do the cookie jars now have such sentimental value?

It is best for you and your spouse to come to a resolution regarding the division of personal and household items. Work with our attorneys to determine whether property such as a family business or real estate should be valued by an expert. There are many factors to consider when deciding whether to keep property, give it to your spouse, or have it sold. From tax consequences to replacement value, our attorneys can help you evaluate these decisions.

Reach out to our law office today at (239) 309-2006 to request a case evaluation with one of our attorneys to talk to us about your equitable distribution and find out how we can help you.

What system does Florida use for dividing property?

Florida law provides for an equitable division of the property and debts acquired during your marriage. There is a presumption that the division of property should be equal. The court will consider several factors that would not justify an equal division of property including the following:

  • The contributions of each spouse during the marriage, including one spouse’s raising of the children
  • The financial resources of each spouse
  • One spouse’s sacrifice in the other spouse’s career building
  • Maintaining the marital home for raising any minor children
  • The benefit of maintaining an asset like a business or other income producing assets

What does community property mean?

Community property is a term used in several states which have a community-property system for dividing assets in a divorce. Florida is not a community property state. In states having community property laws, each spouse holds a one-half interest in most property acquired.

How is it determined who gets the house?

If you and your spouse are unable to reach an agreement regarding the house, the judge will decide who keeps it or whether it will be sold.

What is meant by a property inventory and how detailed should mine be?

A property inventory is a listing of the property you own. It may also include a brief description of the property. Discuss with our attorneys the level of inventory detail needed to benefit your case. Factors to consider what creating your property inventory may include:

  • The extent to which you anticipate you and your spouse will disagree regarding the division of your property
  • Whether you anticipate a dispute regarding the value of the property either you or your spouse is retaining
  • Whether you will have continued access to the property if a later inventory is needed or whether your spouse will retain control of the property
  • Whether you or your spouse are likely to disagree about which items are premarital, inherited, or gifts from someone other than your spouse.

In addition to creating an inventory, our attorneys may request that you prepare a list of the property that you and your spouse have already divided or a list of the items you want but your spouse has not agreed to give to you.

How is pet custody determined?

Under Florida law, pets are considered personal property and, therefore, the courts will not consider a “custody” arrangement and “visitation” with the pet. If it is important to you to be awarded one of your family pets, discuss the matter with our attorneys.

How will our property in another state be divided?

For the purposes of dividing assets, out-of-state property is treated the same as property in Florida. Although a Florida court cannot order a change in the title to property located in another state, a judge can order your spouse either to turn the property over to you or to sign a deed or other document to transfer the title to you.

Will I get to keep my engagement ring?

If your engagement ring was given to you prior to the marriage, it will be considered a gift and treated as premarital property that you can keep. Talk to our attorneys about your ability to keep additional gifts and inheritances.

If my spouse and I can’t decide who gets what, who decides? Can that person’s decision be contested?

If you and your spouse cannot agree on the division of your property, the judge will make the determination after considering the evidence at your trial. If either party is dissatisfied with the decision reached by the judge, an appeal to a higher court is possible.

What is a property settlement agreement?

A property settlement agreement is a written document that includes all of the financial agreements you and your spouse have reached in your divorce. This may include the division of property, debts, child support, alimony, insurance, and attorney fees.

The property settlement may be a separate document, or it may be incorporated into the decree of dissolution, which is the final court order dissolving your marriage.

What happens after my spouse and I approve the property settlement agreement? Do we still have to go to court?

After you and your spouse sign your name to approve the property settlement agreement or decree, it must still be approved by your judge at a final hearing. A final hearing can be scheduled after the passing of the twenty-one-day mandatory waiting period under Florida law, assuming you and your spouse have also resolved all matters pertaining to your minor children.

If a property settlement agreement is reached by the parties, a court date for your final hearing can often be obtained earlier than a trial date, because a final hearing requires much less time than a trial.

If my spouse and I think our property agreement is fair, why does the judge have to approve it?

The judge has a duty to ensure that all property settlement agreements in divorces are fair and reasonable. For this reason, the judge must review your agreement. The judge can consider the facts and circumstances of your case when reviewing the agreement. Not every case will result in an equal division of the assets and debts from the marriage, although this is very common.

Reach Out to Our Law Office in Naples to Discuss Your Equitable Distribution Case Today!

If you are looking to ensure you get equitable distribution, the family law team at the Law Offices of Cavanaugh & Cavanaugh, P.A. in Naples can guide you through each step and make sure you get what you deserve during your divorce. Backed by more than four decades of experience, you can feel confident that our team will help you overcome any potential obstacles you may face.

Call us today at (239) 309-2006 to set up a case review with one of our equitable distribution attorneys to learn more about what we can do to ensure you get what you deserve.

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