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All Press Releases for January 11, 2014 »
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Florida divorce: Understanding how equitable distribution works

There are several types of marital property that spouses often overlook in divorce.
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    January 11, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- The breakup of a marriage in Miami is never easy, even if you get along well with your soon-to-be ex. There are many decisions that must be made and when it comes to those choices, things can get nasty when money and property come into the picture. Many times, a spouse can find themself on the losing end simply through ignorance. Therefore, before any kind of divorce settlement is agreed on or signed, you should be aware of how equitable distribution works.

Equitable distribution

In Florida, a couple's marital property is under an equitable distribution law. Unlike community property, which generally splits everything equally down the middle, equitable distribution takes several factors into consideration. This means that a spouse may receive less or more than half of the marital assets. In the event that a couple has a premarital or post-marital agreement, than the agreement is followed.

If a couple is unable to draft their own divorce settlement, it will likely fall on the shoulders of a judge to make the decision of how their property will be divided. Forbes states that the judge will look at the education of each spouse, the spouses' ability to work and take care of themselves, the presence of children, the contributions of each spouse in the success of the couple, the length of the marriage and the health of each spouse. All of these things are taken into consideration to ensure that the property is distributed fairly.

Marital property

As part of the property division process, it is important to understand what falls under the term, marital property. Many people understand that property and money acquired before the marriage began is separate property and everything acquired during the marriage is marital property. However, there are several types of marital property that spouses often overlook and these are:
- 401ks.
- Bank accounts held by one spouse.
- Professional licenses.
- IRAs.
- Closely held businesses.
- Commissions.

Fox Business states that it is also important for people to think about their long-term needs. For example, if a spouse will be paying child support or alimony, than the other spouse should make sure that there is a life insurance policy in place as part of the divorce settlement. The policy will continue to provide monetary support in the event that the supporting spouse dies.

Valuating property

Once a spouse has a complete inventory and picture of the marital property, the spouse should have each item valuated. This is often done with a valuation date. The valuation date can be the date of the official separation or a date of the judge's choosing, according to Forbes.

A valuation professional will use that date to determine the exact monetary value of each item. The spouse should hire their own professional to avoid any discrepancies. Due to the fact that some property, such as stocks, retirement accounts and real estate can change in value overnight, it is important to try to get a valuation date that will yield the highest values, especially if the spouse is not the breadwinner of the family. Valuation and marital property division can be complicated and it is in a person's best interests to seek out an experienced attorney for legal guidance.

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