Divorce is fraught with financial concerns and challenges in determining how to equitably divide assets. Other than decisions related to child custody, the financial ones are often the thorniest to resolve. This is especially true when you have worked hard to build a successful business or professional practice to provide for your family.
At the Pensacola law firm of Meador & Johnson, P.A. our attorneys represent business owners and other professionals through divorce. Our legal team has the resources and experience to handle all cases, whether you have limited assets and debt or complex financial and business holdings. These cases often require proper valuation of complex investments, real estate holdings, family-owned businesses and complex pension or retirement funds. Our office has the experience to assist clients with these difficult situations.
Protecting Your Interests The First Time
You generally do not get a second chance at property division. Fixing a mistake, while sometimes possible through a request for modification or clarification, is extremely difficult and can be expensive. From the start, it’s crucial to have knowledgeable, assertive legal minds on your side.
It is not uncommon for one spouse to have limited knowledge of investments or the other spouse’s employee benefits and retirement assets. We work with a network of highly regarded specialists in business valuation, real estate appraisal, forensic accounting and other important financial areas. They help us identify hidden assets and accurately assess complex financial portfolios.
Division Of Assets And Liabilities
How will the court divide assets and liabilities incurred during the marriage? Florida is an equitable distribution state — all marital assets are subject to division barring a valid prenuptial or antenuptial agreement to the contrary. Property division can also have an impact on alimony and child support calculations in certain cases.
In general, judges enjoy wide discretion in dividing property and debts equitably. This could be allocating assets or liabilities to the spouse who earned the money or incurred the debt or structuring an award to offset equity in a home with retirement benefits.
Nonmarital property is not divided, but the burden is usually on the spouse arguing that property is nonmarital to offer support for the characterization. Categories of nonmarital property include:
An asset acquired before your marriage
Inheritances made individually
Gifts from someone other than your spouse
By combing through records and presenting them in a clear, concise manner, our lawyers are able to resolve many cases without litigation. Unreasonable demands may require stronger tactics. When this is the case, we are prepared to advocate for you in court.