Florida Court Explains Equitable Distribution

Married couples often accumulate assets over the course of their marriage, and how that property should be split is often one of the most contentious issues when they divorce. The state of Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that the courts are free to divide marital assets in any way they see proper. Whether a court distributes property equally or unequally, it must establish a factual foundation for its decision, and if it fails to do so, the decision may be overturned. This was recently proven in a Florida opinion issued in a divorce proceeding. It is in your best interest to contact with a Florida divorce attorney about your rights if you decide to end your marriage.

The Case’s Background

The couple allegedly married in 2002. During their marriage, they had two little children. The spouse served in the US military until he was honorably discharged in 2017 owing to mental and physical injuries sustained in many incidents. The Veterans Administration determined that he was 100 percent disabled and awarded him disability compensation.

Later that year, the wife reportedly filed for divorce. The husband stayed in the marital house, while the woman moved in with her parents with the children. Both parties filed an equitable distribution worksheet to seek an equitable allocation of the assets. The husband sought that he be allowed to maintain the marital home in exchange for taking on the mortgage, whilst the wife urged that the house be sold and the proceeds split. The court delivered a final ruling that mostly followed the husband’s planned asset and liability division, but ordered the marital home to be sold. The husband filed an appeal.

Florida’s Law on Equitable Distribution

The courts in Florida examine equitable distribution awards for abuse of discretion. The appeal court noted that regardless of whether marital assets are split equally or unequally, the final distribution must be backed by competent and significant evidence. According to Florida law, courts must start with the assumption that distribution should be equal unless there are compelling reasons for an unequal distribution after considering all relevant elements.

A court must incorporate findings of fact that support its conclusion in its final ruling to validate an unequal distribution. As a result, if a court fails to make factual findings that support its conclusion, it is usually grounds for reversal. In this case, the appellate court pointed out that the trial court made no factual findings in its final conclusion that would support an unequal distribution. As a result, the appellate court ordered the case back to the trial court for a new trial.

Meet with a Seasoned Miami Lawyer

Divorce not only affects people emotionally, but it also has substantial financial ramifications, and it is critical for anyone considering divorce to understand the financial implications of their decision. If you or your spouse want to end your marriage, the seasoned Miami attorneys of the Law Offices of Sandy T. Fox, P.A., can aid you in seeking a fair and efficient resolution. We have an office in Aventura, and we regularly represent people in divorce cases in Miami. You can contact us through our form online or at 800-596-0579 to set up a conference.