How Does Property Division Work in a Florida High Net Worth Divorce?
In any divorce case, one of the important topics that the parties must address is property division. As a result, you might have concerns about your rights when going through a high net worth divorce and the stakes are high. Though these cases are unique for many reasons, Florida divorce laws apply to all proceedings regardless of dollar value. All items that are part of the marital estate are divided according to the rules of equitable distribution.
The statute is straightforward, but applying it to a high net worth divorce can be challenging. There are more assets to review, and they can be more complicated in terms of how they are held. Often times there are significant tax consequences affecting various assets. You are dealing with more than just the marital home, vehicles, and a checking account. You can trust your Dade City property division lawyer to protect your interests, but the steps for equitable distribution in a high net worth divorce include:
- Review Prenuptial Agreements: High net worth individuals often accumulate their wealth before getting married, and many protect their interests through prenuptial agreements. This is the starting point for property division, because Florida’s law on equitable distribution may not even apply when the parties dictate their own divorce through an agreement.
If you signed a valid prenup, property division works according to the provisions of the agreement. In it, you can state what items you own before marriage and should be considered separate. You can also include a division of property that is not equitable.
- Classifying Property: When there is no prenup, the first step to assessing property division is creating two categories of assets and debts. One is separate property, which is all the items you owned and liabilities you owed before the wedding. The other is marital assets, including all property you acquired after marriage and debts you incur – regardless of how they are titled.
Note that even separate property can take on characteristics of marital assets after the parties wed. Any increase in value in the asset that occurs during the marriage could be part of the marital estate. Pay downs of non-marital assets can also have a marital component.
- Equitable Distribution: After classifying property as marital or separate, the law of equitable distribution is applied. This concept refers to fairness, rather than an exact 50-50 split. The statute includes several factors a judge will review to ensure equity with property division, including:
- The duration of the marriage;
- Contributions made by each spouse to the marriage and children;
- Any interruption in one spouse’s career to support the other;
- Contributions made by one spouse to the other’s career;
- Economic circumstances of the parties; and,
- Many others.
A Dade City Property Division Attorney Will Protect Your Interests
Though there are challenges with high net worth divorce, you can better understand your rights with property division when you review these basic steps. For qualified legal help with your case, please contact The Law Office of Laurie R. Chane. You can call 352-567-0055 or fill out an online contact form to set up a consultation. After reviewing your situation, a Florida divorce lawyer will provide details.