The Role Equitable Distribution of Property Plays in all Florida Divorce, Even if Uncontested
Florida law on divorce is complicated. It doesn’t matter whether you live in Ft. Lauderdale or Boca Raton, all counties adhere to Florida Family Law. One of the most important areas to become educated in is the distribution of property.
What You Need to Know about Florida Law on Divorce and Equitable Distribution Outside of Family Court
Why should you care about estate planning and the beneficiary designation? Especially if you file for a Ft. Lauderdale uncontested divorce?! Well, for starters, a lot. This is especially true because of the intersection between estate planning and Florida Family Law. People traveling from Ft. Lauderdale to Boca Raton seeking answers to the great mysteries of life constantly confront me.
The questions asked go far beyond simple divorce support. For example, if you give a kid pop rocks and coke will their head explode? If you swallow a watermelon seed will you grow a watermelon in your stomach? And, of course, did Steve Urkel really need a cloning machine to transform into Stefan Urquelle? Or was his alter ego inside of him the whole time?
Unfortunately, the other questions will have to wait. In this post, let’s focus on the connection between estate planning and Florida Law on divorce.
The Basics of Florida Law on Divorce and Equitable Distribution of Property
As any attorney Boca Raton based will tell you, Florida is an equitable distribution state. The first thing you should do is create a complete inventory of all property you and your spouse own. Do this before any attempt to make the end of your marriage court official.
It’s also important to create a complete history of property ownership. Determining what property is subject to equitable distribution in a Florida divorce first requires classification. This means figuring out whether it’s marital property or the separate property of one spouse. Only marital property is subject to equitable distribution. This also goes for marital debts, regardless of whether the real property is in Ft. Lauderdale or Boca Raton. As long as it’s in Florida, a divorce court judge has jurisdiction to distribute it.
What Makes Ft. Lauderdale Property Marital under Florida Law on Divorce
Florida Family Law categorizes property as marital if it was acquired during the marriage by either spouse. The exception is if the receipt of the Ft. Lauderdale property is by gift or devise. However, the property is marital if it is a gift to both parties. A Ft. Lauderdale divorce attorney needs to clarify a donor’s intent to the court.
Ft. Lauderdale property acquired in exchange for separate property is also separate. A Family Law court can also classify separate property as marital if it’s commingled with marital assets.
How to Classify Boca Raton Property as Separate or Marital for Equitable Distribution under Florida Law on Divorce
Florida Family Law has a bright line rule for the determination of marital assets and liabilities. The date to classify same is the day a petition for Boca Raton divorce is filed. This is only when the parties haven’t entered into a valid Boca Raton separation agreement or otherwise agreed on an alternative date. In this instance, it will be the earlier of the two.
The Importance of Florida Equitable Distribution Law Even in Uncontested Divorce
The summer months in Florida provide little motivation to spark interest in anything. Your weekly Boca Raton tennis league will likely be rained out and NFL training camp hasn’t started yet. You’ve already caught up on every episode of Orange is the New Black and Game of Thrones. Twice. Just the thought of a trip to Lauderdale beach makes you sweat. Your daydreams consist of a cab to the Fort Lauderdale airport to catch a last minute flight to Alaska to escape the humidity. The thought of a hotel made from an igloo now has your thoughts drifting even further. So if I still have your attention, I consider it a small victory.
A wise man once told me that it’s all in the details. And the details are what can save you from looking like a chump in family court.
The Connection Between Estate Planning and Florida Divorce
It is important to know the affect that divorce from Ft Lauderdale to Boca Raton has on existing estate planning documents. Certain benefits automatically cease upon final judgment.
- Revocable trusts
- Last will and testament
- Life insurance
- IRA accounts
- POD accounts
Does Florida Law on Divorce, Specifically Equitable Distribution, Have any Automatic Affect?
Property held as tenants by the entirety becomes property held as tenants in common upon divorce. However, property held by parties as joint tenants that forms a legal right of survivorship isn’t affected under Florida law. This only applies to Florida property subject to equitable distribution. Keep in mind this may be different in a community property state.
Other Important Estate Planning Concerns from Ft Lauderdale to Boca Raton
It’s important to remember that Florida divorce isn’t the only source of legal forms to consider. A spouse is removed as attorney in fact under a power of attorney when Florida divorce is filed.
When the Florida divorce is completed, a spouse is removed as health care surrogate. Again, a courts divorce ruling doesn’t affect a successor designation. In both situations, a party is able to circumvent this by making his or her intent clear that a party shall remain in these roles.
Boca Raton Family Law Attorney Emphasizes the Necessity of Looking Outside of Florida Law on Divorce to Achieve Ultimate Protection
A court may order either party to maintain an insurance policy following Ft. Lauderdale divorce for several reasons:
- To secure payment of the balance of an equitable distribution property settlement
- Secure payment of alimony
- To secure payment of child support
The court’s contempt power doesn’t extend to the enforcement of portions of a Family Law final judgment for Florida divorce dealing with an equitable distribution of property. Consequently, it’s extremely important that a party maintains a life insurance policy if payment is a concern. The key is that your Boca Raton Family Law attorney makes sure that you’re the beneficiary of the policy. More importantly, the designation needs to be under the classification of a support obligation. This alone will invoke the court’s contempt power under Florida Family Law.
Florida Family Law can be Tricky, The Best Boca Raton Attorney Will Make Sure the Equitable Distribution Portions of a Divorce Agreement are as Detailed as Possible
Preparing for unforeseen events is at the top of our priority list. For example, what happens if your ex keels over during a romp in the hay with the shirtless/duckface 20-something plastered all over his or her Facebook page? In this instance, an airtight provision that protects your right as beneficiary is especially important.
Unless a settlement agreement or final judgment for Florida divorce names you as the irrevocable beneficiary, the court will turn to the policy to see who receives benefits. Moreover, general language stating who is to receive ownership of the asset when ending your Florida marriage is not specific enough. In conclusion, it’s all in the details.
Boca Raton Family Law Attorney on what Insurance Provisions to Include in a Divorce Settlement Agreement
How long does a divorce take in Florida? That depends on whether or not you’re dragged back into court because your ex petitions for relief. A way to avoid this, therefore, is to make sure your Florida divorce agreement settles all issues. The provisions for insurance of a divorced spouse can include several things under Florida law. Specifically, the language should state that:
- The beneficiary designation is irrevocable
- Premiums are timely
- The insurance company informs you if there is an attempt to change the beneficiary
- You can make the premium payment if it is in the grace period with reimbursement by your spouse
- You are provided with proof that the policy is in full force and effect on an annual basis
- If you have to enforce these provisions in divorce court, the non-compliant party is responsible for fees and costs
The Best Family Law Attorney from Ft Lauderdale to Boca Raton Ensures Clients Receive Full Protection under the Florida Law on Divorce
One more thing to note that is especially relevant. Property may pass through a beneficiary designated asset before your Florida uncontested divorce. A party will be treated as predeceasing their former property spouse if no change is made to the will or trust after your split. Make sure you retain a Boca Raton Family Law attorney who will make sure your interests are safeguarded, long after the ink on your passport to singledom dries.
Click Florida Family Law Attorney now to schedule your consultation. Proudly Serving Boca Raton, Delray Beach, West Palm Beach and all of Palm Beach County, Florida.
Boca Raton Family Law Attorney Practice Areas Include:
Simplified Dissolution of Marriage
Florida Uncontested Divorce
Florida Alimony Laws
Legal Separation Agreement
Division of Property
Dissipation of Marital Assets
Contempt and Enforcement