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Navigating Division of Property in Divorce

Navigating Division of Property in Divorce

Navigating Division of Property in Divorce


Divorce is often an extremely emotional and tumultuous time in a person's life. Amidst the personal turmoil, there is a critical legal process that can have a profound impact on your financial future: division of property. Whether you're navigating an amicable split or a contentious uncoupling, understanding the intricacies of property division is crucial.

In this comprehensive guide, we address some of the most pressing questions and concerns about property division in divorce, with a focus on the complex mosaic of policies in place for residents in Orlando, Florida. By the end, you will be equipped with the knowledge you need to protect your assets and rights.


The Basics of Division of Property in Divorce

Equitable Distribution

In Florida, the standard used for dividing marital assets is 'equitable distribution.' This doesn't mean an automatic 50/50 split; instead, the court aims to distribute marital property in a manner it deems fair, which may not always be equal.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

The first step in dividing property is to distinguish between marital and non-marital assets. Generally, marital property includes any assets and debts acquired during the marriage, with a few exceptions. Non-marital property is excluded from division and typically includes assets acquired before the marriage, inheritances, and gifts to one spouse.

Factors Influencing Distribution

Courts consider several factors when making these determinations:

  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each spouse's economic circumstances
  • The interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities
  • The contribution to the marriage, both monetary and non-monetary
  • Each spouse's contribution to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income
  • How the children's custody arrangements might affect the distribution

The Role of Legal Counsel

During this process, a seasoned attorney can be your greatest ally. They can provide both legal expertise and objective advice to ensure that you receive the fair distribution of assets to which you are entitled.

Documenting and Valuing Assets


Compiling an inventory of all your marital possessions is a crucial early step. This should include real property, bank accounts, retirement accounts, vehicles, household items, and any properties or assets acquired during the marriage.


Valuing these assets can become a contentious issue. Professional appraisals are often necessary for properties, businesses, or high-value items. Both spouses should agree on appraisers whenever possible to maintain objectivity and reduce disputes.

Expert Testimony

In some cases, you might need experts to provide testimony on complex issues like property value or the worth of a business. Your attorney can help you decide when and how to bring in these additional resources.

Negotiating a Settlement


Many divorces in Florida are settled out of court through mediation. Mediation can be an effective way to negotiate property division, as it allows both parties to have a say in the final settlement.

Legal Agreements

If you and your spouse are on amicable terms, you might consider signing a marital settlement agreement. This document outlines the terms of your property division and other aspects of the divorce. While not required, it can expedite the process significantly.

Common Challenges and Disputes

Hidden Assets

Unfortunately, some spouses may attempt to hide assets. This is illegal and can carry severe penalties. If you suspect your spouse isn't being transparent about assets, your attorney can employ forensic accounting to uncover hidden money or property.

Valuing Businesses

For business owners, valuation can be complicated, especially when one spouse isn't involved in the operations. Factors like revenue, market conditions, and debt can significantly impact a business's worth.

Debts and Liabilities

Just as assets are divided, so too are debts. Understanding which debts are marital and which are non-marital is essential. In cases of excessive or undisclosed debt, an equitable distribution strategy can help protect your financial health.

Tax Implications of Property Division

Real Estate and Taxes

When dividing real estate, be mindful of potential tax liabilities. For instance, selling the family home may lead to capital gains tax if not handled correctly.

Retirement Accounts

Transferring retirement funds can also have tax implications. Ensuring QDROs (Qualified Domestic Relations Orders) are properly filed can help avoid unnecessary tax penalties.

Spousal Support

Alimony is still part of the tax code, and understanding the tax implications of both paying and receiving spousal support is vital.

Enforcing and Modifying Decrees


If your former spouse is not abiding by the terms of the property division decree, you have legal means to enforce it. Your attorney can guide you through the steps to ensure compliance.


In some cases, property division orders might need modification, especially if there's been a significant change in a spouse's financial situation.

Protecting Your Rights and Property

Prenuptial Agreements

For those about to be married, a prenuptial agreement can be a valuable tool for protecting assets. It can establish which assets are considered separate and which are marital.

Know Your Worth

Understanding the value of your assets and contributions during the marriage is essential. Be prepared to advocate for what you believe is a fair distribution based on these factors.

Self-education and Preparation

Engage in proactive learning about family law and your rights. This can include attending workshops, reading related materials, and closely tracking financial records.


Final Thoughts

Going through a divorce can be an incredibly trying experience, especially when it involves division of property. While the emotional turmoil is unavoidable, the legal aspects can be actively managed and prepared for. By understanding your rights, valuing assets accurately, and seeking out professional guidance, you can ensure that the property division in your divorce is conducted equitably.

In Orlando, Florida, where family law is as diverse as the communities it serves, it's critical to have a family attorney who not only understands the law but also provides compassionate guidance. At Frank Family Law, we specialize in helping clients throughout Central Florida with all aspects of the divorce process. If you need legal assistance with division of property or any other family law matters, contact us for a consultation.

Take control of your financial future. Start your property division process now, one well-informed step at a time. If you need assistance with family law practice in Orlando, FL, contact Frank Family Law today for a consultation.