No one enters into marriage expecting the marriage to fail. According to the most recent Census data, however, the divorce rate in the U.S. is approximately 45%. When couples do make the decision to end their marriage, it is usually a well thought out choice, weighing everything in the marriage. Oftentimes, several attempts have been made to resolve issues that are causing problems in the marriage. Unfortunately, some problems cannot be fixed no matter how hard you try. Because the decision to divorce is an emotional and stressful one, it is helpful to make a list of issues that need to be discussed or resolved during the divorce process. Being as prepared as possible can offer peace of mind and often streamline the process.
Preparing an inventory of the financial status of each party is a good place to start, including a list of all assets and financial accounts or investments, as well as a list of all debts or other financial obligations. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, mortgage statements and deeds, investment account statements, and any prenuptial agreements. The gathering and organization of documentation to support each item in the financial portfolio can be extremely helpful, especially when it comes to compliance with the Mandatory Disclosure requirement. They can be grouped into different categories, making them easy to access at a moment's notice.
The gathering and organization of documentation to support each item in the financial portfolio can be extremely helpful, especially when it comes to compliance with the Mandatory Disclosure requirement.
One of the more difficult parts of the process is determining whether assets are considered separate premarital or nonmarital property or joint marital property. In Florida, marital property is subject to equitable distribution meaning that it will be divided fairly, but not necessarily equally. Take note of how each piece of property was brought into the marriage – as a gift, or as a joint purchase, for example. Be aware that even in the case of premarital assets, a portion of those assets may be considered marital, and therefore, subject to equitable distribution. In Florida, the active appreciation of a pre-marital asset is includible in the marital estate while passive appreciation is not includable.
The decision to divorce is not an easy one, but no one should feel forced to stay in an unhappy marriage either. If you are considering divorce, The Bayhi Law Firm PLLC is here to help. Call us today at (407) 442-3177 or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation with Attorney Michelle A. Bayhi.