Money isn’t everything, but you need it to survive. Especially if you are getting divorced and will no longer have your spouse’s income or indirect contributions to the household to rely on. Walking away from your marriage with a reasonable portion of the wealth you and your ex accumulated is not just fair. It’s essential for almost every newly divorced person in Southwest Florida who needs to start a new household and afford the essentials on their own.
Whether you and your spouse earned about the same amount of income or one of you was the sole breadwinner, you are both entitled to a fair share of most assets (and debts) acquired during your marriage. This is known as equitable distribution, and it’s the method of property division that Florida follows, along with most states.
Fair, not automatically even
“Equitable” is a legal term meaning fair. You and your spouse are not required to split your assets exactly 50-50. This gives you room to negotiate a settlement tailored to your individual abilities and needs. Also, only marital assets must be divided. With certain exceptions, these are the assets you earned or received during the marriage and probably make up the bulk of your household wealth. Nonmarital assets, such as a bank account in your name only that never became co-mingled with your spouse’s money, are yours to keep.
Negotiating a financial settlement can be complex and challenging. You and your spouse could strongly disagree about who deserves to keep what. But an experienced divorce lawyer can help you decide what your priorities are, devise a strategy on your behalf and represent you in settlement talks.