Equitable Distribution is the division of the assets and the debts that were acquired during the marriage. Anything that was owned prior to the marriage could be considered non-marital property as long as the property has not been comingled. Florida is a 50/50 state so all assets and debts are usually divided equally between the parties unless there is justification for an unequal distribution based on the factors outlined under the Statute. Florida Statute 61.075
Assets include real property, personal property, jewelry, furniture, art work, vehicles, stocks, bonds, life insurance that has a cash value, IRAs 401ks, Pensions, defined benefits, union benefits, military benefits, business interests, time shares and any other thing of value that was purchased or acquired during the marriage. Sometimes this can include contingent assets – like a pending law suit that may bring in a settlement.
Debts include mortgages, equity lines, credit card debts, car loans, asset loans (furniture and/or jewelry), student loans, pledged funds and other thing that is owed to another evidenced in writing.
Sometimes we use CPAs, realtors, business evaluators, Certified Divorce Financial Analysts, benefit experts or Forensic CPAs, art & jewelry appraisers or estate appraisers to properly evaluate assets and benefits. There are times we need to find hidden assets and use private investigators to run asset searches. Some assets require Qualified Domestic Relation Orders (QDRO) to properly distribute. Having the right team in place is very important to proper equitable distribution.