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Asset division not as easy as it sounds in some cases

Some things are easier said than done. In a divorce, for example, a court will endeavor to divide the property and debts belonging to a Miami couple in a fair manner. While the concept of dividing property fairly may sound simple in concept, it can be difficult in certain cases.

To begin with, it may be a complex process just to identify all of the property that is at stake and that must be divided between the parties. There are the more obvious assets like a house, cars or personal property, but there may also be business interests, investment accounts, retirement benefits, stocks, bonds or other unique items of value.

Often times, an individual will contest whether certain of these assets should be divided. Typically, only marital property is divided in the marriage. Nonmarital property, meaning assets that were acquired before the marriage or that were not intended to be shared between the spouses, is not divided and is awarded to the individual who owned the property individually. Accordingly, individuals may claim that certain assets belong solely to that person and should not be divided.

Even when the asset is marital property and subject to being divided, it can be difficult to place a correct valuation on the asset. For example, business interests may be difficult to value, which raises questions as to how to equitably divide the asset between the spouses.

Moreover, the court will need to consider various factors in deciding how to divide the property fairly, including the duration of the marriage and the economic circumstances of the parties. Under these circumstances, it is easy to see how a simple concept can quickly turn into a detailed process involving complex asset division.

Source: The Florida Bar, "Divorce in Florida pamphlet," accessed on Nov. 28, 2015

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