Rights And Responsibilities Of Divorce Proceedings In Florida
Did you know your rights and responsibilities during divorce proceedings are impacted the moment you file a case (or, have been served with a case)? One of the most complicated areas in a divorce proceeding is dividing the couple’s assets and liabilities – what the Court calls “Equitable Distribution.”
Nearly all Florida counties have standing Orders that require you to do, or not do, certain things One Order is that during a divorce case both spouses must ‘maintain the status quo’. For instance, one spouse may not remove the other from insurance plans or financial accounts and may not dispose of marital assets. This can be very tricky because what you think is yours alone may actually be marital. If you have a home that has been in your family for many generations, our spouse may in fact have a right to some of its equity. Another example may be the new car that you got by trading in the car you owned before you were married. Your spouse may be entitled to have it deemed marital property.
What is “marital” also impacts a couple’s liabilities. In general, any debt incurred by either spouse during the marriage is marital – meaning both spouses are responsible for repayment. But did you know this can also include one spouse’s student loans? In Florida, a spouse with student loans incurred during the marriage may be entitled to contribution by the other spouse if they benefited from their spouse’s degree or certification. Similarly, a spouse who puts the other through school or who ‘carries the load,’ may be entitled to have not only those costs, but also potential future earnings, considered in distributing assets and liabilities.
What about retirement accounts? Spouses may be entitled to a portion of the other spouse’s retirement benefits – even if the account existed before they were married. Why is this? During a marriage, all income of both spouses is “marital.” When one spouse contributes to their own retirement fund, that contribution takes money away from the other spouse’s immediate use in anticipation that it will be used upon retirement by both spouses.
Our family law attorneys are focused on efficiently and effectively preparing clients for the most difficult circumstances. We can prepare the necessary and often unique strategies and tools that your family may require. Contact us today to schedule your low-cost legal consultation.