Depending on what state you live in, you may qualify for equitable distribution. In states like Florida, for example, it is up to the court to do what is "fair", or equitable, when splitting up liabilities and assets. However, this does not always translate to a 50/50 split of the marital property.
Using "competent" and "substantial evidence," rather than speculation and testimony, it is the court's duty to split up the assets equitably. The court will usually start with non-marital liabilities and assets, such as those that were obtained prior to the marriage. Yet not all property acquired before the marriage is considered immune; if the value rose substantially during the marriage, it could be included in the final settlement.
Once this has been completed, the court will then determine whether an inequitable distribution is warranted. By looking at factors like the financial circumstances of both parties, the duration of the marriage and each party's contributions to the marriage, the judge will arrive at a conclusion. The judge must then outline his/her decision and explain why the assets were divided as they were.
Have questions pertaining to equitable distribution? Contact our legal team to consult with a
Jacksonville family law attorney.