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What makes for a fair and equitable property settlement?

As you and your spouse go through the divorce process in Florida, your property settlement negotiations likely will play a huge part. You probably already know that Florida is a “fair and equitable” state, meaning that the property settlement agreement you and your spouse arrive at must, in fact, treat both of you fairly and equitably.

The Huffington Post, however, points out that “fair and equitable” has little, if anything, to do with a precise 50-50 split of your assets. In fact, since no statute or court has ever given a one-size-fits-all definition for “fair and equitable,” what is fair and equitable for you and your spouse may well not mirror what would be fair and equitable for another couple in different circumstances.

Fair and equitable factors

Numerous factors, such as the following, can have a big impact on the precise percentage split of your and your spouse’s marital assets:

  • The age and health status of each of you
  • The amount of salary or wages each of you earns each year
  • The potential, if any, that both of you have to improve your earning capacity
  • The standard of living the two of you attained during your marriage
  • The value of the nonfinancial contributions each of you made to your marriage
  • The length of time your marriage lasted

Nonmarital property

Keep in mind that the above factors, as well as the “fair and equitable” issue itself, apply only to your marital assets, that is, the assets that the two of you accumulated during the course of your marriage. They do not apply to your separate property, which belongs to you and you alone.

Your separate property includes things like the following:

  • The property you bought or otherwise acquired prior to your marriage
  • The personal gifts you received during your marriage
  • The inheritances you received during your marriage
  • The court judgments, jury awards or settlements you received during your marriage as the result of lawsuits filed in your name only

This is general educational information and not intended as legal advice.

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