Disputes over money are one of the leading causes of divorce. It is not surprising, then, that in many divorce cases, the parties will engage in contentious disagreements over how assets and property should be divided. In an attempt to mitigate such disputes, the Florida courts engage in a three-step process for determining what constitutes an equitable division of property. If the court disregards the process and divides property without properly identifying assets and liability, it may constitute grounds for a reversal of an equitable distribution award, as demonstrated in a recent Florida ruling. If you wish to end your marriage, it is critical to engage a capable Florida divorce lawyer to assist you in safeguarding your interests.
The History of the Case
The facts of the case are sparse. It is merely reported that the husband and wife were engaged in divorce proceedings, and the trial court issued a final judgment dissolving the marriage. The husband subsequently appealed, arguing that the alimony award and equitable distribution awards dictated by the judgment must be reversed. The appellate court agreed, and vacated the trial court ruling, and remanded for further proceedings.
The Florida Equitable Distribution Process
In Florida, equitable distribution is typically a three-step process. Specifically, it requires the identification of nonmarital and marital assets, a valuation of any assets deemed marital, and distribution of marital assets as dictated by statute. In the subject case, the husband argued that the trial court erred in failing to identify all of the parties’ liabilities and assets and deem them either marital or nonmarital. The appellate court agreed.
Further, the husband argued that the trial court made a mistake in failing to apply the appropriate classification date to the liabilities and assets it did identify. The appellate court agreed with this assertion as well, noting that the final judgment showed that the trial court focused on what is believed to be the date the parties effectively ended their marriage. Florida law requires that the date used for determining whether assets are marital or nonmarital is either the date the parties entered into a separation agreement or the date either party files a divorce petition, whichever is earlier. As the parties did not have a separation agreement in the subject case, the court should have used the date the wife filed the petition. Based on the foregoing, the appellate court granted the husband’s appeal.
Speak to an Experienced Miami Attorney
Ending a marriage is often an arduous process, and it is prudent for anyone engaged in dissolution proceedings to retain an experienced attorney to fight on their behalf. If you have questions regarding divorce or equitable distribution, you should speak to an attorney as soon as possible. The experienced Miami family law attorneys of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., are proficient at helping people involved in family law disputes protect their rights, and if you hire us, we will advocate aggressively on your behalf. Our office is located in Aventura, and we regularly represent people in divorce actions in Miami. You can contact us via our form online or at 800-596-0579 to set up a meeting.