PROPERTY DIVISION / EQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION
Almost without exception, divorce cases involve property division of all marital assets (ie: bank accounts, stock accounts, real property, retirement accounts, business interests, and the like) as well as the equitable division of all liabilities (ie: debts of all types, including personal loans, credit cards, mortgages and the like). As an equitable distribution state, Florida law directs that courts ensure marital assets and liabilities are fairly divided as opposed to equally divided. Nonetheless, many courts routinely apply the equal division rule, absent exceptional circumstances, and, as such, an equal split is an appropriate starting place for analyzing your case for settlement purposes.
In order to begin this analysis requires that you provide the firm with a comprehensive list of all marital assets and liabilities. Frequently our clients do not have all of this information available. In these cases, our firm, often with the assistance of investigators, forensic accountants, business valuators, and appraisers, works in concert to not only uncover undisclosed assets, but to also determine the true, or net value of such assets and liabilities. This includes understanding and considering tax consequences, future values, and offsetting liabilities, as well as evaluating alimony options, when appropriate, before evaluating a settlement proposal.
The Law Firm of Ann-Marie Giustibelli, P.A. can also advise you whether an asset or liability may be considered non-marital and, as such, not subject to equitable distribution. Assets that you owned prior to the marriage may, in certain instances, be excluded from the marital estate, but sometimes when “marital labors” increase the value of the asset, or marital assets are comingled with pre or non-marital assets, the assets lose their non-marital character and may be subject to equitable distribution. Nonetheless, our firm can assist in developing strong positions for an unequal distribution of marital assets if the non-marital property loses its separate property status.
Let our firm assist you in evaluating your assets and liabilities in order to help you achieve a fair property division. Whether your assets are limited or your liabilities great; whether your net assets are millions of dollars, our firm’s objective to our clients remains the same to ensure the fairest financial outcome based on evaluating all options.