In nearly every divorce, the equitable distribution of assets and debts must be resolved. In some cases, this exercise can be simple and straightforward. Often, however, the distribution of assets and debts among divorcing spouses can be among the most complex of the issues in a divorce case. The Tampa marital and family law attorneys at Older Lundy & Alvarez have the experience, knowledge, and understanding to litigate any and all issues concerning distribution of marital assets and liabilities—from the most basic to the most complex. The more complex issues may include, by way of a few examples;
the valuation of closely-held businesses, including the value of personal and professional “good will”;
the right of one spouse to share in the value of intellectual property owned by the other spouse, and the value of such intellectual property;
the right of one spouse to share in the premarital property of the other spouse when marital funds or marital labor was used to maintain the property during the marriage;
the right of one spouse to assets that were placed in trusts created by the other spouse, or the right of one spouse to property that the other spouse has transferred to a third party during the marriage.
Florida Laws on the Distribution of Assets and Liabilities
In Florida, the distribution of assets and liabilities among divorcing spouses is governed by statute, but the statute gives considerable discretion to the trial judge. Generally speaking, the distribution of marital assets and liabilities involves the following steps:
Classify the parties’ various assets and liabilities as marital or nonmarital. This determination—made separately for each asset and liability—will depend on several factors, most importantly the date on which the asset was acquired or debt incurred and the manner in which the asset was acquired or debt incurred. Only those assets and liabilities classified as marital will be divided.
Determine the value of the marital assets and liabilities. This step may be very simple or very complex, depending on the level of subjectivity involved in the valuation. A joint bank account, for example, is usually not difficult to value. On the other hand, the value of real estate, closely held businesses, business good will, and intellectual property, for example, are often the subject of dispute, requiring complex analysis and expert appraisals.
Distribute the marital assets and liabilities equitably. “Equitably” usually means equally, but the court has discretion to provide an unequal distribution in one party’s favor under certain circumstances.
What Makes Our Attorneys Unique
While our Tampa family law attorneys have decades of family-law experience among them, many of them also have experience in complex commercial transactions, and they are uniquely qualified to handle a complex case involving business valuation, intellectual property, marital enhancement of non-marital property, personal good will, and a host of other issues that may make the equitable distribution of assets and liabilities complicated and contentious. In addition to these seasoned attorneys, Older, Lundy & Alvarez’s in-house forensic accounting team provides our clients with a further advantage over the opposition.
Call Older Lundy & Alvarez for Assistance with Your Tampa Divorce Matter
For the best representation in your divorce, whether in the Tampa Bay area or beyond, contact Older Lundy & Alvarez at 813-254-8998 to schedule a consultation.