Is Florida A Community Property State?
No. Florida is not a community property state. Noted by Investopedia, there are nine community property states, including big states such as California and Texas. However, Florida, like the majority of U.S. jurisdictions, operates under an equitable distribution standard for property division in a divorce. In this blog post, our Largo property division attorney explains what you should know about Florida’s equitable distribution standard and property division in general.
Florida is an Equitable Distribution State
Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 61.075), the marital property and assets held by a divorcing couple are split in an “equitable” manner. Florida requires courts to “begin with the premise that the distribution should be equal.” However, an equal split of marital property is not mandatory in a divorce in Florida. Quite the contrary, courts may award an unequal property division on the grounds of equity (fairness) based on the following factors:
- Each party’s contribution to marriage and family;
- The current and future economic circumstances of each party;
- Missed opportunities by either party due to marriage/family;
- Marital misconduct, including intentional waste of assets; and
- Any other factor deemed relevant to deciding an equitable distribution.
What is the Difference Between Equitable Distribution and Community Property?
As noted above, Florida’s equitable distribution standard holds that courts should split a couple’s marital property in a “fair” manner. It could be—and often is—a 50/50 split, but that is certainly not required. In contrast, in a community property state, all of a couple’s marital assets are owned 50/50. Community property states require an even (50/50) division of marital assets.
Not All Property is Marital Property (Separate Property is Not Divided)
In both types of states (equitable distribution and community property), it is important to distinguish between marital property and non-marital property. Also frequently called separate property, non-marital property is not subject to division in a divorce. Florida law clearly states that “the court shall set apart to each spouse that spouse’s nonmarital assets and liabilities.” In other words, a spouse is entitled to retain full ownership of their separately held property.
Property Division in Divorce: Collaborative Solutions Often Work Best
Splitting up the property is one of the most complicated aspects of ending a marriage in Florida. As a general rule, separating couples can benefit from working towards an agreement, either through informal negotiations, collaborative divorce, or divorce mediation. No matter your circumstances, an experienced Florida family lawyer can help you find the best path forward.
Consult With Our Largo, FL Property Division Lawyer for Legal Help
At the Law Office of Gale H. Moore P.A., our Largo divorce attorney has the skills and experience to help people navigate complex property division matters. If you have any questions about equitable property distribution, we are here to help. Contact us now for a confidential review and assessment of your family & divorce case. We provide legal representation throughout the surrounding region, including in Clearwater, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs, Feather Sound, and Safety Harbor.