If you or your spouse decides that ending your marriage is the best way forward, you’ll need to deal with numerous practical and legal challenges before this life transition can be completed. Among the legal challenges in question is division of your marital property, assets, and debts. Dividing all of the physical and financial assets and debts that you’ve acquired since you married can be a daunting prospect. Thankfully, you are largely in control of this process. Unless you and your spouse cannot work through your differences via conversation, mediation, and/or attorney-led negotiation (and your case ultimately requires judicial intervention), you and your spouse can construct whatever equitable agreement best suits your needs, priorities, and circumstances.
It is important to understand that “equitable” means fair. And “fair” does not always mean “equal.” Essentially, you’ll want to start with the premise that you and your spouse each have an interest in 50 percent of your marital property and debts. Then, discuss any exceptional circumstances that may affect this calculus with an attorney. For example, you may have inherited a significant sum after the death of a parent last year. Your spouse is not necessarily entitled to half of that inheritance unless it was directed to be shared between you both. Determining what is “fair” can take some time and back-and-forth. However, if you and your spouse are committed to keeping your divorce amicable, chances are that—with the assistance of an experienced attorney—you can get there in the end.
Asset Division Considerations
Claiming your equitable “half” of your marital property does not mean that you and your spouse need to sell all that you own and split the profits. As an experienced Tampa, FL family law group – including those who practice at The McKinney Law Group – can clarify in greater detail, you will be entitled to (roughly) half of whatever the value of your marital assets and debts may be (taking into account any extraordinary equitable circumstances as discussed above).
Say that you have retirement accounts that are valued roughly the same as your marital home is valued. You could split the retirement accounts and the profits from the house, or one of you could keep the accounts and the other could keep the house. You can also speak with an attorney about splitting the value of these assets in some other manner. For example, you may choose to keep both the accounts and the house and pay your spouse significant alimony for a set period of time.
Essentially, you’ll want to think long and hard about the ways in which you could divide your assets and how various division strategies will or will not serve your needs, goals, and priorities moving forward. Avoid holding onto assets for sentimental or vindictive reasons. Think of your future self’s needs and priorities and build a strategy that will serve your future self well, first and foremost. Divorce is just as much about securing the future as it is about resolving concerns of the past.