What Will And Will Not Impact A Divorce Settlement?
People tend to make a lot of assumptions when it comes to divorce, assumptions that can either leave you surprised and in a bind, or looking bad to a court, depending upon what activities you engaged in.
Below, we discuss some factors, issues, and behaviors that surprisingly do not impact divorce settlements.
Florida’s Equitable Distribution of Property & Alimony
Florida has what’s known as an “equitable distribution” policy; meaning that marital property is fairly divided between the divorcing parties. Therefore, even if you have been a stay-at-home parent or vice versa—you have been working more—this does not mean that the one earning the money ends up with a larger overall share.
Alimony is a sum of money, lump sum or over a period of time, which a husband or wife is required to pay to his or her former spouse after a divorce and ordered by the court. In fact, in deciding alimony, courts may consider the following:
- All sources of income available to the parties, including each party’s income through various sources, including investments, financial resources, etc.;
- The earning capacities of each party, including any necessary education or training to attain employment;
- The contribution of each party to the marriage (including if either was a stay-at-home parent);
- The standard of living established during the marriage;
- The duration of the marriage;
- The age and emotional and physical condition of each party;
- The responsibilities each party will have with respect to any children that they share;
- The tax consequences of any alimony award; and
- Any other factors necessary to do justice and equity between the parties.
Also keep in mind that not every inheritance that you receive during your marriage turns into fair game for your divorce negotiations; in fact, the law dictates that as long as this asset is kept separate and was not commingled with marital assets, it can be classified as a non-marital asset to which the non-owning spouse does not have access. If this is of concern, you will want to ensure that you work with an experienced divorce attorney to keep it separate from your shared accounts or assets, regardless of what stage you are at in thinking about or negotiating a divorce settlement.
Although Florida courts may consider either spouse’s adultery to determine whether to award “spousal support” (i.e. alimony), if the spouse who cheated did not spend money on the extramarital affair, it may not impact how much of the estate that spouse receives.
Experienced Florida Divorce Attorneys
Divorce can get both complicated and confusing. Sometimes property is divided equitably; while other times it is found to qualify as separate property. Regardless, consulting with an experienced attorney is absolutely essential if you expect to protect yourself as you contemplate divorce and potentially enter negotiations for a divorce agreement. Contact our experienced Florida divorce attorneys at HD Law Partners today to find out more.