Written By: Lenorae C. Atter, Attorney
Wood, Atter & Wolf, P.A.
In Florida, divorces require the equal distribution of marital assets. What this means is that anything purchased or co-mingled during the marriage is considered marital and those assets have to be divided equally to the spouses. However, if one spouse uses those funds inappropriately (drugs, affairs, etc.), then the court may order an unequal distribution of the marital assets.
In a recent Florida case, Fuentes v. Fuentes, 35 FLW D878 (Fla.2nd DCA April 27, 2011), the court ruled that if an unequal distribution of assets is awarded to a spouse, then it is that spouse’s responsibility to prove to the court the assets were inappropriately used or depleted by the other. While the parties are waiting for the divorce to be final, one spouse may be required to pay the other spousal support (alimony), living expenses, attorney fees, etc. Normally, these funds are to be paid from current income, but sometimes it requires the spouse to go into marital funds to pay the other with. When that occurs, it is not considered an inappropriate use of marital funds and an unequal distribution of assets is not appropriate.
If divorce is on the horizon, you should speak with a family law attorney to better understand your rights and options.