Equitable Distribution vs. Community Property

Equitable Distribution vs. Community Property

When it comes to property division there are different routes that can be taken. This is not a federal matter and it is left up to the state to determine which form they want to practice. A state may choose to use equitable distribution or community property, though even within these forms they can have varying ways of going about them. Property division is one of the hottest topics to be discussed in many divorces, as it can greatly affect both parties involved.

It is an important matter to deal with and the age old problem has been trying to decide on a fair way to make this division of marital assets. Different spouses may have a different claim to the property. There are many arguments that can be brought up in regards to how to go about this. One spouse may have worked long hours and been the main income earner, while the other spouse was at home caring for the kids and managing the household. If you are having trouble distributing the property between you and your former spouse during a divorce, then it is important that you contact a Tampa divorce lawyer for the Law Offices of Manuel Fajardo for legal assistance.

What is equitable distribution?

Covered under Florida Statutes §61.075(2012), equitable distribution is one way the court can choose to go, seeking to make the decision fair, though not always necessarily equal. This choice can be a benefit or hindrance depending on the situation a person is in. This form is more flexible and there are often more of a range of outcomes. This makes it more challenging to predict what the end result will be in these situations when compared to community property.

Equitable distribution looks to make the choice equal in the respect that it takes both parties and their contributions into consideration, while not equal in the sense of being a down the middle divide. It divides marital property depending on all factors combined, such as a mother remaining at home that still had a contribution, though it may not have had a financial gain or value on it. Financial standing is considered and this can be valuable for a spouse that may not have had as high of an income and relied on their spouse as the main income earner.

The court will consider a number of factors to make the call including the following:

  • Financial standing of both parties
  • Their earning potential
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Each contribution of the two individuals for gaining property after marriage
  • Debts sustained and the two parties ability to pay them
  • The tax consequences
  • Contribution of a spouse to the training or education of the other one
  • If a custodial parent will have to stay in the house
  • Intentional damage of marital property after a petition is filed or two years before
  • Any other factors that should be considered

What is community property?

Community property is the other option that can be used, though it is a less common form. Even within it, some states vary their adaptation of it. Some will be more lenient, while other states will require an even divide down the middle. This form is more prominent along the south west region. It is known as being a more even divide and some areas will even use an even 50/50 split. Community property divides the assets of a couple into two categories; those that are considered separate property and those that are considered community property. Separate property will generally be what was acquired prior to the marriage, or may have been gained during the marriage as a gift or inheritance. Separate property is to be left alone to the individual that it belongs to. Community property is anything that either party or both gained during the duration of their marriage. This may have been from one spouse that worked while the other remained home. Even if one spouse has a more significant contribution to the financial position of the couple, depending on the state this may not always be considered.

In equitable distribution it will be more important to make a strong case, since there can be an increased chance of either gaining or loosing depending on how persuasive your position is. You may be a spouse that made contributions to the marriage that did not have a financial reward and this should not prevent you from being considered. You may also be a spouse that did actually have a greater investment in the marriage, earning wages while your spouse hardly worked if at all. In any situation it is important to work alongside a professional that can review your case, provide an estimation on what you should be owed and pursue earning this amount in the court room.

To make sure that you get all the property you deserve, contact a Tampa divorce lawyer from the Law Offices of Manuel Fajardo for a free case evaluation.

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