Schwam-Wilcox & Associates, Attorneys and Counselors at Law
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Equitable Distribution

In marriage there may be several assets and liabilities from both sides. These assets and liabilities are distinguished form pre-marital, marital, and non-marital to decipher who gets what in a divorce or known in Florida as a Dissolution of Marriage. When a couple goes through a divorce the division of assets and liabilities can be difficult. In Florida we use the rule of equitable distribution (which means 'fair" not necessarily equal, but usually equal is where the analysis will begin) where all marital assets and marital liabilities are divided equitably. Again, this does not mean assets and liabilities are split 50/50, more on the lines of what is fair to each side. A pre-marital asset or liability means this is an asset or liability that one party had PRIOR to the marriage. So whatever you come into the marriage with, as long is it is not co-mingled (mixed together; i.e. bank accounts, refinancing of a home with the other spouse's name being added to the title, etc) this is what you should leave with before the marital and non-marital assets are even dealt with by the Court. A non-marital asset or liability is property acquired during the marriage, but somehow not co-mingled (an inheritance, or monies received after the execution of a post nuptial or prenuptial agreement, etc.). More specifically, if you received an inheritance fund in the stock market for years before your first marriage and you add money from both you and your spouse's income or put your spouse's name on the account, then the account may be considered a marital asset, and now subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. Any asset gained or liability incurred during a marriage with the use of marital funds or marital labor is subject to equitable distribution. Examples could be savings accounts, 401K accounts, vacation homes, credit cards, mortgages, automobiles, automobile loans, etc. Real estate property can be difficult to distribute fairly, one party may either buyout the other to take ownership of the property or they may sell the property and divide the money equitably. When going through a divorce the stress incurred by resolving these ownership disputes can be insurmountable; however, when hiring a divorce/family law attorney these disputes can be resolved with fluidity and less stress incurred on the parties. Before you enter into an agreement that may be binding on you and non-modifiable (you cannot change it later, usually property distributions are not modifiable), you need to know your rights, an attorney can give you the knowledge you need, and the knowledge you obtain is the power you want in the dissolution of a marriage. Visit our website page ( on Equitable distribution for more information, or call our office (407-245-7700) to set an appointment to speak to one of our qualified attorneys.

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