What Property Belongs To Me

by Jonas from Daytona Beach, Florida, Volusia County

We've been married about 7 years, no children. I'm in the military and have not been in Florida about 2 years.

Now the divorce is coming up and she wants to take everything. I think by the law, we should split 50/50. Is that right?

Answer to Florida Divorce Question

Dear Jonas,

As long as you or your spouse is a Florida resident, either of you can file for divorce in Florida.

If a petition has already been filed and you have been served with the petition, you have 20 days to file an answer.

In your answer, simply reply that you do not agree with the initial petition where assets and liabilities are concerned.

According to Florida Statutes (61.075), Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that all marital assets are split on an equitable basis.

Equitable means "fair" and not necessarily equal. Therefore, your assumption that you are entitled to a 50% / 50% split may not be correct. At first the court will assume that everything should be split equally, but it will consider justification for an unequal distribution based on several factors spelled out in state statutes.

Initially the court considers overall contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to care and education of any children and/or services as a homemaker. Other considerations include the duration of the marriage, economic circumstances of you both, any interruption in education or careers, contribution of one spouse to the career or education of the other spouse, and the contribution of either spouse to the current assets (maintenance, payments, etc…).

Yet another consideration is the intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years before the petition was filed.
Finally, the statute also lists any other facts necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.

This essentially means that if you contest the petition, it will be up to the court who gets what according to these guidelines. Since you have no children, the process is much less complicated; however, you should attempt to reach an agreement with your spouse before letting a court divide your assets.

If this is not possible, my suggestion would be to file an Answer that contests any provisions you do not agree with. If you like, why not have your Answer professionally prepared with our Petition Preparer service. Just ask us for a free quote.

Notice: We provide these answers to the general public and our website visitors as a means to further their online legal research. These answers are merely suggestions and should not be regarded as legal advice.

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