When going through a divorce in Florida, the Courts will start with the presumption that all marital assets and marital liabilities should be equally divided between the parties. This means a fifty-fifty (50/50) split. Now, this is a rebuttable presumption and parties can argue, based upon specific facts, that they should receive more of a specific asset or liability or of the whole.
A marital asset or liability is defined as any asset or debt which was acquired during the parties’ marriage. Specifically, the Courts will look to the date of the parties’ marriage, and the date the parties separated or the date an action for divorce was initiated when categorizing an asset or liability as marital or non-marital.
Know Your Rights
Generally, non-marital assets or liabilities would be assets or liabilities that were solely owned by one party prior to a marriage. Non-marital assets may also be acquired through gift or inheritance, even if such a gift or inheritance was acquired during a marriage. Of course, specifically determining whether an asset or liability is marital or non-marital is a heavily fact intensive inquiry. Be aware, title to a specific asset or liability or having same solely in one party’s name is not always controlling.
It is of paramount importance that your family law attorney does their due diligence in collecting the necessary documentation to properly identify and value both parties’ marital and non-marital assets and liabilities. This information will be critical for use at trial or in preparing a reasonable and fair settlement agreement. Ask us what assets and liabilities may be at issue in your divorce at your initial consultation with Mr. Gregory M. Ruster, Esq. and/or Mr. C. Garrett Gaa, Esq.
Your Attorney’s Obligation To You
Your attorney’s obligation is to be your staunchest representative and an officer of the Court. We will provide you with the most practical and straightforward advice available in assessing each client’s situations and goals.
Attorney Client Privilege
In Florida, the attorney-client privilege is codified in Section 90.502, Florida Statutes. This law states that, generally, communications between a client and their attorney are confidential. In other words, without a legal waiver or other specific exceptions, you and/or your attorney cannot be compelled to disclose communications made in performing our services.
Relationship Based On Trust
From the initial consult through the final hearing, it is of the utmost importance for attorneys and clients to be truthful with one another and for there to be trust between them. The pair are a team and trust is essential. We believe in being transparent with our clients and we cannot afford to be surprised at any time in a case because a client has failed to be transparent with us. If the idea should ever cross your mind and you question, Should I tell my attorney this? The answer should always be, Yes – we are available to then tell you if “this” may be an issue.
Your Attorney’s Role
An attorney may have several roles throughout a case, especially in family law. We may be your representative, your advocate, your advisor, an/or your counselor.