Money and property are believed to be two of the main causes of divorce. If the couple cannot reach an agreement as to how their property and debts will be divided, the court will step in.

Most states follow equitable distribution when dividing marital property in a divorce. Unlike community property states where marital property is divided fairly equally, when deciding equitable distribution, the court considers what would be the fairest to both parties. Florida is a common law property state and follows the laws of equitable distribution.

There are no specific, set rules in deciding who gets what or how much during equitable distribution. The courts take into account a variety of factors, including: whether the property is separate or marital, the needs and earnings of each spouse, the career loss of one spouse who stayed home to rear children, and wrong-doing by a spouse, such as an extra-marital affair or domestic violence.

For example, the spouse who gave up their career and stayed home to raise children may receive a larger portion of the marital property. On the other hand, an abusive spouse or a party who caused the breakdown of the marriage may get a smaller share of the marital property. The court also considers the earning potential of the spouses post-divorce when determining how properties and debts will be distributed.

Separation or divorce is a complex and emotional subject for most. It is also one of the most stressful times that many live through in their lives. Sometimes, it is difficult for people to make the correct decisions for themselves and their family. It is important for couples to understand how laws can influence their divorce and it may be wise to have the assistance of a legal professional to safeguard their interests.