No one ties the knot on their wedding day expecting their marriage to end in divorce, yet a high percentage of marriages do. When you find yourself facing that heartbreak, the lawyers of Sasso & Guerrero are here to help disentangle you as painlessly as possible.
WHAT ASSETS ARE DIVIDED IN A DIVORCE?
Every asset acquired during the marriage, no matter whose name it’s in, is presumed marital (unless the parties have contracted otherwise, such as with a pre- or postnuptial agreement). This is true of bank accounts, retirement accounts, real property, and even the wages of each working spouse. Money that is saved during the marriage, even if from one spouse’s employment and placed in a bank account in that spouse’s name only, likely has a marital component which will be implicated in a divorce.
WHAT ABOUT DEBTS?
Similar to marital assets, marital debts are those debts incurred during the marriage, for marital purposes, regardless of whose name is on the account. As is true with marital assets, however, parties can also contract away the marital status of debts in a pre- or postnuptial agreement. Outside of such a contractual agreement, marital debt can include mortgages, home equity loans, credit cards, student loans, automobile loans, medical bills, etc.
HOW ARE OUR ASSETS AND DEBTS DIVIDED BETWEEN US?
The state of Florida starts with a presumption that your marital assets and debts should be equitably divided, which often means a 50/50 split (though not always). Dividing assets 50/50 does not mean that every asset is cut in half. It does not, for instance, necessarily require that a marital home be sold and the equity divided between the parties (though that is one possible outcome). The goal is for each party to acquire a fair portion of the marital assets and debts, which may mean that one party keeps the marital home and the other party keeps a marital bank account with a similar amount of money to what the equity in the marital home is. Conversely, a party who has more than half of the marital debt distributed to them may walk away with more than half of the marital assets to offset the debt distribution. There are many different ways to equitably divide a marital estate. The lawyers at Sasso & Guerrero are adept at “divorce math” and can guide you towards identifying many different permutations before deciding your negotiation strategy.
CAN I KEEP MY HOME?
The marital home is oftentimes the most valuable asset of the marriage. If there are minor children, and if it’s financially feasible for one party to afford the mortgage and upkeep of the home, the court has the power to order that party to have exclusive use and possession while the children are minors, to lessen disruption to the children. The other party may have to wait to obtain their share of equity in the marital home when the home is sold, which will likely be ordered when the minor children graduate high school. There must be compelling reasons to justify delaying the non-occupant party from getting their share of the home’s equity. The lawyers at Sasso & Guerrero can assist in negotiating payout from other assets or other creative solutions to compensate the non-occupant spouse and meet the needs of the occupant spouse in a situation like this.
WHAT ABOUT ALIMONY, CHILD SUPPORT, AND TIMESHARING?
Issues like alimony, child support, and time-sharing may influence the finances of the divorce math equation, and we are here to skillfully broker a divorce settlement that takes those variables into account as well.
WHAT IF I AM IN A SAME-SEX MARRIAGE?
With the long-awaited arrival of marriage equality came the necessity of divorce actions for same-sex couples as well. While divorce for same sex couples may function exactly as for heterosexual couples, that is not always the case. Perhaps you traveled from another state that permitted domestic partnerships or civil unions. Perhaps you lived in a state that recognized common law marriage. Perhaps you had more than one legal proceeding to try and perfect your marriage as more rights became available to you in other jurisdictions. Perhaps you lived with your spouse for years prior to your legal marriage and built a life together sharing both assets and debts. Perhaps you had children together prior to or after your legal marriage. All these considerations may greatly impact your divorce case and only lawyers skilled in LGBTQ+ issues have the requisite knowledge to ensure all of your rights are protected. The lawyers at Sasso & Guerrero take great pride in representing same sex couples through the complexity of their divorce litigation.
DO WE HAVE TO LITIGATE OUR DIVORCE?
Absolutely not! Often times, divorce cases settle through mediation or other types of settlement negotiations. A spouse can also come to us after they have reached a full agreement with their spouse on all the issues in their divorce so we can assist with uncontested divorce proceedings. For those parties that do not want to litigate, but also have issues they are unable to resolve on their own, Collaborative Divorce is an available option for parties who cooperate to make that choice. Navigate here to read more about Collaborative Divorce.
We are here to assist you in the peaceful negotiation of all the issues in your divorce case. However, when settlement negotiations break down, of course, you are able to insist that a judge decide your issues. If you choose that route, the lawyers at Sasso & Guerrero are shrewd litigators whose breadth of knowledge coupled with a keen intuition for your case’s best presentation will assure favorable and attainable results.