Posted on Categories:Family Law, Legal

Division of Marital Assets in Miami Divorce Cases – Protecting Your Financial Interests

In Florida, divorce cases are often complicated by the issue of property division. This is because the state operates under a law known as equitable distribution, which provides that all assets and liabilities obtained during marriage must be fairly distributed in a divorce. This is why it is so important to work with a Miami family lawyer during the early stages of divorce proceedings to protect your legal interests.

The concept behind the equitable distribution of assets is fairly straightforward. The only real difficulty lies in determining which assets are marital and which are non-marital. Generally, this can be accomplished by examining how an asset was acquired. For example, if a person brings a Cadillac into a marriage, this car will generally be considered separate property since it was purchased prior to the marriage. However, if that same person adds his or her spouse to the vehicle’s banking account and allows that individual to make deposits into the account or pay expenses from it, then the Cadillac may be transformed into a marital asset.

This same logic applies to all other forms of property such as houses, vehicles, jewelry, and financial assets such as 401ks. This is why it is important to keep track of how a couple’s assets are titled and how they are used during the course of a marriage.

Once a couple has established which properties are marital and which are separate, the court will typically place a monetary value on each of these assets and then distribute them accordingly. While this process can be time consuming, it will usually provide for a fair outcome in most cases. However, some financial assets are difficult to evaluate and may require the assistance of a professional such as a CPA or actuary.

Aside from property, there are also many types of debts that must be negotiated during a divorce. As with assets, a judge will use an equitable distribution approach when dealing with debts. Having a good understanding of how each debt was incurred can help a couple and/or their attorney argue that certain debts should be classified as marital and others should be treated as separate, non-marital property.

It is very common for a spouse to try and hide assets during divorce proceedings. While these attempts are not always successful, it is still a risk that should be considered by a party. If there are particular items or pieces of property that carry a significant amount of significance, it is wise to discuss this with an experienced Miami divorce attorney early on in the process. This can help the attorney to focus his or her efforts in protecting these pieces of property from unfair and unwarranted division by a judge.

Working with an experienced Miami divorce attorney can help you understand your property rights and the unique issues involved in dividing them. Depending on the circumstances, it may be possible to create prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that can protect your assets and limit how they are divided by a Florida judge.

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