Court Discusses Equitable Distribution in Florida Divorce Actions

In Florida, marital assets are subject to divorce actions, while non-marital assets remain the property of the spouse that owns it. Assets that become comingled, where marital and non-marital funds intermingle, can present challenges during equitable distribution. The court may need to discern the separate contributions of each spouse to determine the appropriate distribution. This was illustrated in a recent Florida divorce action, in which the husband argued that the home he bought before getting married was not a marital asset. The court ultimately disagreed that the wife had no claim to the value of the home, noting that she contributed to its improvement and maintenance throughout the marriage. If you have questions about how the decision to end your marriage could impact you financially, it is wise to speak with a Miami divorce lawyer at your earliest convenience.

Factual and Procedural Background of the Case

It is reported that the husband and wife were divorced after more than twenty years of marriage. The husband subsequently challenged the trial court’s amended final judgment of the dissolution of the marriage. On appeal, the husband disputed the trial court’s decision to award the wife permanent alimony, which the husband deemed excessive. Further, he argued that the family home should not have been classified as a marital asset for equitable distribution, as he bought it prior to the marriage. Finally, he asserted that the wife was entitled to more than a 50/50 split of the proceeds from the husband’s Corvette trade-in.

Equitable Distribution in Florida Divorce Actions

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court’s alimony award without detailed discussion. In doing so, the court noted the husband’s failure to identify a clear error on the record.

Regarding the classification and distribution of the marital home, the court agreed with the trial court that the home’s appreciation during the marriage, despite being a non-marital asset, constituted a marital asset subject to equitable distribution. The court emphasized the wife’s contributions to the home’s maintenance and improvement, as well as her financial investment, as factors justifying an equitable distribution.

However, the court partially dissented on the Corvette issue, agreeing with the husband that the trial court’s decision to award the wife more than a 50/50 split lacked evidentiary support. As such, the court remanded the case for the trial court to modify its judgment on this specific issue while affirming the remainder of the trial court’s judgment.

Talk to a Dedicated Miami Attorney

In Florida divorces, the courts will typically divide marital property in a way that they deem just and equitable. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean that property will be split up equally, though, and it is wise for anyone interested in ending their marriage to talk to a lawyer about their options. If you need assistance with a family law issue, it is in your best interest to talk to an attorney. The dedicated Miami family law lawyers of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A. possess the skills and resources needed to help you seek the best possible outcome available. You can contact us at 800-596-0579 or use the form online to set up a conference.