One of the most common–and highly-contested–issues in most Tampa divorces is how assets and income are divided among the couple. Going through a divorce is really tough emotionally and can completely change the lives of both partners. Even though divorces can be really hard, both sides usually have to come together and figure out how to split their belongings.
There’s no denying that a divorce is difficult and emotional, but it’s important to know how asset division works in Florida and how it will affect you if you ever go through a divorce and want to protect what you own. This includes any income you have coming in or even built up over the course of the marriage.
How Does Florida Law Approach Income and Assets in a Tampa Divorce?
In Florida, when couples get divorced, the law follows the principle of “equitable distribution” for dividing their assets. This means that marital property is divided in a way that is considered fair and equitable, but it doesn’t always mean a 50/50 split. When a judge in Tampa comes to the topic of asset division, there are several factors that they’ll take into account, like:
- The age of both spouses and how long they’ve been married can affect the asset division process.
- The present and future earning capacity of each spouse is considered when dividing assets.
- The properties owned by both spouses, such as homes, cars, bank accounts, businesses, and retirement accounts, are taken into account.
- How the assets were acquired and the sources of those assets are considered.
- If any assets were wasted or misused, it can impact the division.
- The court also considers the family ties and responsibilities of each spouse.
- The potential tax consequences for each party are taken into consideration.
Marital and Non-Marital Property
In most divorces, the court has the discretion to consider any other relevant factors that could impact the asset division. Generally though, Florida law recognizes the distinction between marital and non-marital property.
- Marital property – This includes assets and debts accumulated by both spouses during the marriage. It can include homes, income, bank accounts, investments, and more.
- Non-marital property – This refers to property that either spouse owned before the marriage. In most cases, non-marital property is awarded to the original owner. However, if non-marital property becomes mixed with marital property, it may be considered marital property during the asset division.
In terms of your income, it’s considered marital property if it was shared between you and your spouse over the course of the marriage and is thus up for grabs in equitable distribution. As a result, it’s important to understand the available assets during a Florida divorce to protect and safeguard them. Ultimately, the final decision on how assets are divided is up to the judge. Therefore, it’s crucial to take necessary steps to protect your assets during the process.
Can You Protect Your Income in a Tampa Divorce?
The good news is that protecting your income is possible during a divorce in Tampa. However, it requires preparation and careful negotiation with your spouse. Divorces, especially ones where there are huge assets involved, are notoriously difficult and emotionally charged. To that end, the judge in your divorce case will expect both parties to provide a fair assessment of their assets. Despite the challenges, there are strategies you can employ to safeguard your income and other assets:
- Proper accounting – It’s crucial to compile a complete and accurate list of all your income streams, including bank accounts, investments, real estate, personal property, and any other possessions you own.
- Have individual bank accounts – If you currently share joint bank accounts with your spouse, it’s advisable to open individual accounts in your name. Maintain meticulous records of all financial transactions throughout the divorce proceedings.
- Keep assets separate – To avoid confusion about which parts of your income are marital property, it’s best to keep your belongings separate from those of your spouse. For instance, if you receive an inheritance or a gift, ensure that the funds remain in a separate account under your name.
- Avoid changes or sales of property – It’s generally wise to refrain from making changes to or selling your property during the divorce process. Such actions could be viewed as attempts to hide income or prevent them from being distributed to your spouse.
- Maintain thorough records – Keep detailed records of all financial activities related to the divorce, including bank statements, receipts, and other relevant documents. This will help prevent disputes regarding the division of property.
- Try a prenuptial agreement – If you already have a prenuptial agreement in place, it can serve as a valuable tool to protect your assets during a divorce. Planning ahead can provide added security.
In addition to these strategies, seeking assistance from our team of experienced Tampa divorce attorneys can greatly enhance your ability to safeguard your income. We can guide you through the process, help implement these strategies effectively, and make sure that your income are other assets are protected while promoting a fair and equitable distribution of marital property between you and your spouse.
Protect Your Property With Experienced Tampa Divorce Attorneys
If you’re going through a divorce in Tampa and want to protect your income and assets, our team of skilled Tampa divorce attorneys at Robert Sparks Attorneys is here for you. We understand that every divorce is different, but our extensive experience and knowledge of Florida laws allow us to provide personalized guidance for each client. Our goal is to ensure a fair division of assets in your case.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to seek assistance. Contact us today for an initial consultation to ensure you receive fair treatment.