As you likely already know, if you and your spouse get a Florida divorce, the court requires that your property settlement agreement be a fair and equitable one. But what constitutes “fair and equitable?” That depends on a number of factors particular to your own situation.

As reported in the Huffington Post, most people tend to equate fair and equitable with a right-down-the-middle 50/50 division of marital property. That does not necessarily need to be the case. In fact, in some cases, an exactly equal split of your marital property might be highly unfair and/or inequitable to one of you.

Marital versus nonmarital property

Keep in mind that you and your spouse own two different types of property, whether you realize it or not. Only your marital property need be divided fairly and equitably between you when you divorce. The separate property that each of you owns belongs to you and you alone, such as the following types of things:

  • Assets either of you already owned when you got married
  • Whatever inheritances you received during your marriage
  • Whatever gifts you received personally during your marriage
  • Whatever settlements or jury awards you received personally during your marriage as the result of a lawsuit you filed in your own name

Only in rare circumstances does your separate property morph into marital property during your marriage. One example would be that of a house you owned at the time of your marriage. If your spouse helped you make mortgage payments, etc. out of his or her own earnings after you married him or her, the increase in the house’s value between the date of your marriage and the date of your divorce might be considered marital property.

Fair and equitable factors

As stated, what constitutes a fair and equitable division of marital assets depends on numerous factors, including the following

  • The age and health status of each of you
  • How much employment earnings each of you earns
  • How much earning potential each of you possesses
  • What standard of living the two of you have acquired during your marriage
  • The contribution that either of you has made to the other regarding education, career advancement, etc.
  • How long your marriage has lasted

This is general educational information only and not intended to provide legal advice.