Facing divorce can raise many concerns about your future. Aside from issues involving your children, perhaps one of your primary concerns is how you will fare during asset division. After all, your future financial stability may hinge on obtaining a fair share of marital assets during your divorce. It is not unusual for a spouse to struggle for years following a divorce if he or she does not fight for a more favorable outcome.
Getting your portion of marital assets is not something you should leave to chance, and it may not be something your future ex will concede to easily. It begins with learning as much as you can about the laws in Florida and understanding how those laws pertain to your unique circumstances. This knowledge will help you take the appropriate steps to prepare for property division in your divorce.
Dividing marital property
In Florida and many other states, marital assets involve most everything you and your spouse acquire during your marriage, including income, purchases and debt. Those items not typically considered marital assets are those you or your spouse possessed prior to your marriage and items you inherited or obtained as individual gifts, as long as you keep them separated.
As early as possible in the divorce process, you will want to establish a clear separation of any of your individual assets from the joint property. This will include gathering documentation of your separate ownership of the assets. You will also want to be sure your spouse does not claim any joint assets by saying he or she owns them individually. It may help to take a thorough inventory and gather documentation of your joint assets, including:
- Statements from saving and checking accounts
- Documentation of past spending habits
- Insurance policies
- Investment information
- Deeds for real estate, including your home
- Estate planning documents and prepaid funeral arrangements
- Statements from joint credit cards
- Documentation for your mortgage and other loans
- Appraisals for assets that are difficult to value or that you may have to liquidate to divide, such as your home
- Details about your spouse’s income
- Prenuptial agreement if you have one
Having this information gathered and organized in a logical manner will make it easier for you to find documents your attorney may request while preparing your case. More importantly, it will provide the court with a clear picture of your marital assets, which may improve your chances of obtaining the settlement or divorce order you deserve.