A court will first award to each party their own non-marital property, such as property they had and retained prior to the marriage, and which did not become marital property. Non-marital property, however, can become marital property, such as when one party brings a home into the marriage and places the other party on the title to the home. A bank account owned prior to the marriage and maintained by only one party during the marriage, and not used for purposes related to the marriage or the other spouse, would likely retain its separate, non-marital classification.
Once a court has determined what is non-marital, or a spouse’s separate property, the court will then determine how to distribute the marital property. The court will look to the factors contained in the Florida Statutes, which are:
- (a) The contribution to the marriage by each spouse, including contributions to the care and education of the children and services as homemaker.
- (b) The economic circumstances of the parties.
- (c) The duration of the marriage.
- (d) Any interruption of personal careers or educational opportunities of either party.
- (e) The contribution of one spouse to the personal career or educational opportunity of the other spouse.
- (f) The desirability of retaining any asset, including an interest in a business, corporation, or professional practice, intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party.
- (g) The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition, enhancement, and production of income or the improvement of, or the incurring of liabilities to, both the marital assets and the nonmarital assets of the parties.
- (h) The desirability of retaining the marital home as a residence for any dependent child of the marriage, or any other party, when it would be equitable to do so, it is in the best interest of the child or that party, and it is financially feasible for the parties to maintain the residence until the child is emancipated or until exclusive possession is otherwise terminated by a court of competent jurisdiction. In making this determination, the court shall first determine if it would be in the best interest of the dependent child to remain in the marital home; and, if not, whether other equities would be served by giving any other party exclusive use and possession of the marital home.
- (i) The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition.
- (j) Any other factors necessary to do equity and justice between the parties.”