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How do a spouse's contributions impact property division?

The decision of how to divide property between Florida residents going through a divorce is not an easy one. As discussed last week in this blog, the matter can become even more complicated when considering that courts can consider evidence of a parties' conduct, such as adultery, when dividing the couple's property in the divorce.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, even when a person has not engaged in any conduct like adultery, the court can consider what that person contributed during the marriage in order to complete the process of asset division. For example, one factor the court considers in dividing martial property is the contribution to the marriage by each spouse, such as the contributions to the care and education of the children. This factor also looks at whether a spouse has contributed as a homemaker.

Similarly, the court may examine whether one spouse contributed to the career or educational opportunities of the other. This is common where one spouse might earn an income to support the family, while the other attends college to obtain a degree. The court might not only consider that spouse's contribution, but the interruption that was posed to that person's career or education as well.

Finally, the court can consider a spouse's contribution to the acquisition, enhancement and production of income or improvement to marital or non-marital assets. Similarly, the court might look at these factors when liabilities are incurred.

Ultimately, the court will examine a broad range of factors in order to equitably divide the couple's property. The contributions by each spouse are just some of these factors, but they can turn out to be very important in the court's decision.

Source: Florida Legislature, "61.075 Equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities," accessed on May 21, 2016

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