How is property divided in Florida?
As a general rule, property and debts acquired during the course of the marriage are divided 50/50 regardless of whose name it is in. Although the Courts can in an extraordinary case change the percentages. If I move out of my home, and my spouse has the exclusive use of it, have I abandoned any rights and do I have to help with any of the mortgage? You will not be abandoning any rights to the property by leaving. As to whether you will have to help with the mortgage or other home related expenses, you may be responsible for alimony or child support which practically speaking will be used for the mortgage. But aside from alimony and child support, you do have an obligation as a co-owner to contribute towards the expenses of this joint marital asset.
What happens if I own some property such as a house before the marriage and then put the property into joint names during the marriage?
In the case of a house, it is presumed that you intended to make a gift to your spouse and it will therefore be joint property to be divided upon divorce. You can try to rebut this presumption with proof that you put it into joint names for some other reason than a gift. As far as money, if you take some that you had before the marriage and put it into a joint account, in general the Court is going to find that it is marital property subject to division between the parties upon divorce.
If my spouse gets to keep the marital home for whatever reason, am I still responsible for payments?
Yes, if you signed the loan documents with your spouse in order to borrow money from the bank, then you are still obligated in the event your ex-spouse fails to make the payment. The court order does not change the contract you signed with the bank. Before entering into an agreement during the divorce, you should contact an attorney to discuss your options and strategies. If you are still obligated, then that will appear on your credit report which may make it difficult or impossible to borrow money for another home or car. If the payments are missed by the ex-spouse, your credit may suffer.
Are pension or retirement program assets divided the same as other property?
Yes, in general, pension rights (whether vested or unvested) and other retirement assets are divided on a 50/50 basis although it can be a complicated process to divide them without incurring any liabilities for early withdrawal of the funds. And do not forget that $10,000 in a bank account is not the same as $10,000 in a pension or 401k type program. If you try to take money out of the latter, you may well incur penalties for early withdrawal and have to pay income tax on the money you take out.
What assets are subject to the 50/50 split?
Property acquired during the course of the marriage by one or both parties is basically subject to a 50/50 split unless there are extraordinary circumstances which require different percentages. There is usually going to be a 50/50 split even though for example one spouse worked ten hours a week while the other spouse worked forty. The acquired property will still be considered a marital asset. In general, the Court is not going to start looking into how hard each party worked during the marriage to contribute, although in extreme cases, the Court can consider the level of contribution.