Divorce in Jacksonville
Divorce can be a complex and emotionally challenging process, especially when it comes to dividing marital assets.
Factors such as the duration of the marriage, the financial contributions of each spouse, and the economic circumstances of each party are considered when determining the division of property.
Factors Affecting Property Division in a Jacksonville Divorce:
Child Custody and Support:
If there are minor children involved, their custody, care, and support are taken into account for property division. The court aims to minimize disruption to the children’s lives and provide for their best interests.
Duration of the Marriage:
The length of the marriage plays a significant role in property division. In general, the longer the duration of the marriage, the more likely it is that assets will be divided equally between the spouses.
The economic circumstances of each party at the time of the divorce are taken into account. This includes factors such as earning potential, employability, and the need for financial support.
The financial contributions made by each spouse during the marriage are also considered. This includes income earned, investments made, and any debts incurred.
Marital vs. Separate Property:
Only marital property is subject to division. Marital property generally includes assets acquired during the marriage, while separate property refers to assets owned by each spouse before the marriage or acquired via inheritance or gift.
Prenuptial or Postnuptial Agreements:
The presence of any prenuptial or postnuptial agreements that outline how property should be divided can significantly impact the property division process.
Seeking the guidance of an experienced family law attorney who understands the intricacies of property division can help ensure a fair and equitable outcome that takes into account the unique circumstances of each case.
Additional Factors Influencing Property Division
In a Jacksonville divorce, the property division process is governed by Florida’s equitable distribution laws. These laws aim to ensure that marital property is divided fairly, taking into account various factors.
For stay-at-home parents, who may have focused on domestic responsibilities rather than generating income, the court recognizes their contributions to the family and considers their needs when dividing property.
Spouses have the opportunity to agree on property division outside of court through a marital settlement agreement.
This agreement allows them to determine how their assets and debts will be divided, rather than leaving it up to the court. By reaching a complete marital settlement agreement, spouses can have more control over the outcome and avoid the stress and expense of going to trial.
When determining whether property is considered separate or marital, the court looks at the date of acquisition and the source of the funds used to acquire the property.
Assets acquired before the marriage or through inheritance or gift are considered separate property. If separate property is co-mingled with marital property or used for the benefit of the marriage, it may be subject to division.
The Equitable Distribution Process in Jacksonville
Under the equitable distribution process, marital assets are classified as any property, income, or debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage.
As marital property is divided and separate property is not, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
When determining whether the property is classified as separate or marital, several factors are taken into consideration. These factors may include:
- Any relevant legal agreements
- How the asset has been treated during the marriage
- The nature of the asset
- The timing of its acquisition
Examples of assets include:
- An inheritance received during the marriage
- Bank accounts (e.g., checking accounts, savings accounts)
- Business interests (e.g., ownership in a company, partnerships)
- Collectibles (e.g., artwork, antiques, coins)
- Debt obligations (e.g., mortgages, loans, credit card debt)
- Investment accounts (e.g., stocks, bonds, mutual funds)
- Intellectual property (e.g., patents, copyrights, trademarks)
- Life insurance policies with cash value
- Personal property (e.g., furniture, appliances, electronics, jewelry)
- Real estate properties (e.g., family homes, vacation homes, rental properties)
- Rental income from investment properties
- Retirement accounts (e.g., 401(k), IRA, pension plans)
- Timeshares and vacation properties
- Valuable belongings (e.g., watches, designer clothing, luxury items)
- Vehicles (e.g., cars, motorcycles, boats)
In a Jacksonville divorce, the court requires documentation and evidence to establish the separate nature of assets in order to protect them from being subject to division. For example, if one spouse claims that an asset is their separate property, they must provide proof such as bank and investment statements, documents showing inheritance or gift, title deeds, or other ownership documents.
The court may consider any relevant legal agreements between the spouses that pertain to the asset. Evidence may be needed to show how the asset has been treated during the marriage, including whether it was used for the benefit of both spouses. Also, the timing of the acquisition of an asset can also be considered when determining its separate or marital status.
Sacks & Sacks law firm has experienced Jacksonville divorce lawyers who can provide you with guidance throughout your divorce process. With over 20 years of divorce law experience and thousands of cases filed, your free consultation is the beginning, not the end.
 A Seven-Step Analysis of Equitable Distribution in Florida Part 1: Classification and Valuation of Marital Property. (n.d.). The Florida Bar. Retrieved July 13, 2023, from https://www.floridabar.org/the-florida-bar-journal/a-seven-step-analysis-of-equitable-distribution-in-florida-part-1-classification-and-valuation-of-marital-property/