Property division through Florida’s equitable distribution method

Florida divorce courts generally divide property acquired while married through equitable distribution, which does not always result in a 50/50 or equal division. Couples may decide to negotiate between themselves on how to divide their marital assets or property before going through the divorce procedure. If two individuals cannot agree amicably on how to split the assets they acquired together, a family court judge may do it for them.

When a judge has the responsibility of dividing property under the Sunshine State’s equitable distribution laws, fairness to both couples is the priority. As noted by Reader’s Digest, a couple may, however, dispute a divorce court judge’s determination of a fair or equitable property division.

Some factors a judge may consider in deciding what is fair include the couple’s children, the length of the marriage, and each spouse’s health and post-divorce earning potential. While a judge may consider these factors, however, they may not always serve as the final arbiter.

A retirement plan may have its own division process

Couples married for decades and heading into their retirement may decide that it is time for a change and a marriage dissolution is in order. If one spouse worked during the marriage and contributed to an employer-sponsored retirement plan, however, the nonworking spouse may also have a fair claim to some of its income.

Federal law requires a qualified domestic relations order to divide assets from a pension fund or 401(k), as noted by Kiplinger magazine. The QDRO is a court order that allows an ex-spouse to obtain a portion of the benefits from his or her working spouse’s retirement fund. An employer must provide a QDRO form when asked, and it then becomes part of the divorce process. A spouse may generally request a lump-sum payment or a percentage of the plan when moving on from the marriage.

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