Divorce in Tampa comes under Florida State Laws, so to understand men’s financial rights in a divorce in Tampa, we need to consider divorce laws in Florida. But first, look at the division of financial rights between spouses under Florida divorce laws.
Divorce In Tampa, Florida- A Brief Introduction
Florida state laws only apply in case of divorce if one spouse has lived in Florida for a minimum of six months before filing for divorce. Tampa comes under Florida state laws, so a marriage in Florida can only be annulled or divorced. Legal separation is not recognized in Florida – however, you can divorce your partner for no reason by stating that the marriage is ‘irretrievably broken.’ In a non-contested divorce, a 20-day waiting period will ensue, after which a Judge of the Circuit Court will sign the Final Judgement of Dissolution of Marriage.
Some divorce proceedings take longer because of unresolved issues like child support, custody, alimony, division of assets, etc. All divorce proceedings are governed by Chapter 61 of the Florida Civil Practice And Procedures.
You May Read: Financial Planning Advice- Planning for your Future
We will look at the various categories through which men’s financial rights are affected in a divorce in Tampa.
Men’s Financial Rights In Divorce In Tampa, FL
1. Property Distribution
Florida follows the principle of equitable distribution, which means equal distribution of assets between spouses in the event of divorce. However, that does not mean a 50-50 divide. Equitable distribution is governed by various factors, like what qualifies as marital property. Men’s financial rights to the property are limited to the property acquired before marriage or after the divorce, received as a gift from the other spouse, received as inheritance, or as personal injury settlements. The equitable distribution principle will be followed for the property acquired during the marriage. So, men will receive only that percent of marital property, which the Court considers an equitable distribution.
But, if the inheritance is used as an asset after marriage, like if the couple was living in an inherited house of the man, the inherited assets become marital property, and the man loses complete financial rights over it. Even the joint bank accounts split in the divorce.
The divorced man also doesn’t have complete financial rights over the shared household if the other spouse has been paying half the house mortgage payments.
The Courts support if the spouses get together and figure out the division of marital assets in custody, alimony, child support, and debt issues and specify these on the Marital Settlement Agreement.
2. Accountability of Debts
We have already discussed that Florida divorce laws allow for equitable distribution of assets – which may or may not be a 50-50 divide. Just like with assets, both debts incurred during the marriage go for equitable distribution.
You May Read: How to Get Out of a Financial Jam or Crisis?
So, if the man had premarital debts, like loans, credit card debt, or excessive personal shopping bills, he is solely responsible for resolving that debt. However, the higher-earning spouse is often given the responsibility to take care of a more significant percentage of joint debts incurred by both partners during the marriage.
If the woman has a credit card before marriage and has been used by both partners during the marriage, the man has to take on half the debt incurred from credit card bills. However, if the majority of the debt is through expenses incurred by the woman, a man has the financial right to take on a lesser or no percentage of the debt remaining.
3. Division of Assets
As per the equitable distribution principle, the Courts will decide how much of the assets will be given to each spouse. The division is not equal because the asset distribution would be dependent on a variety of factors:
- Economic circumstances of the spouses
- Contribution to the marriage by each spouse – including that of homemakers and child-rearing.
- Duration of the marriage
- Whether one spouse contributed to the educational advancement of the other spouse
- Whether one spouse put their on hold for the sake of the marriage
- Each spouse’s contribution toward joint debt
- Which spouse needs the family home for the children’s upbringing
- If any one of the spouses spent marital assets on reckless pursuits before filing the divorce petition
- Other factors about the division of assets.
So, the man can have financial rights to a more significant percentage of marital assets if:
- The wife is more affluent;
- The man has contributed more to the marriage physically, monetarily, and emotionally.
- The man has spent on his wife’s further education.
- The man has given up on his career for the marriage
- The wife has contributed more to joint debt by whiling away marital assets.
A significant challenge here is to ascertain what comes under the purview of marital assets and what doesn’t – and this also causes disputes between spouses. The commingling of assets further makes things complex because that happens when a non-marital asset is converted to a marital one.
You May Read: Smart Ways to Choose a Financial Investment Advisor
A man will have financial rights over the assets he has acquired before marriage but has kept it separate from his and his spouse’s common usage.
4. Gifts and Inherited Property
Florida laws state that gifts and inherited property received before marriage and after separation are not marital property – so they are not subject to the equitable distribution principle. If the gifts are from an outsider to one of the spouses during the marriage, it is still not marital property. However, if one of the spouses uses the inherited house to stay with the other spouse, it becomes marital property, subject to equitable distribution. A man does not have complete financial rights over the gifts he has given to his wife during a marriage – but he does have exclusive rights to his inherited assets if both spouses haven’t used them.
5. Pension and Retirement Plans
A man does not have complete financial rights over his pension, IRA payments, or retirement plans because they are marital property. However, suppose the other spouse is getting a more significant portion of the joint property (like the family home). In that case, the man can negotiate for a more significant percentage of the pension and retirement plan income. A Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) determines the method of fund division in this case.
6. Child Support Payments
A man will have financial rights over claiming child support from his wife if his wife has the following:
- More assets and financial resources:
- Better health and younger age:
- More earning capacity;
- Lower contribution to child-rearing;
- Has taken financial help from the man for further education
- She has no child custody because she cannot work and care for the child/children.
You May Read: 5 Reasons Why You May Need a Financial Lawyer
If the man is unemployed or seeking some time to train himself for employment, his wife has to bear the brunt of child support. The man will also have financial rights over the wife’s life insurance policy payments if she passes away in between child support/alimony payments.
Seek Professional Help To Get Your Financial Rights In One Place
The equitable distribution principle followed by Florida/Tampa changes the predictability of what you will get from the divorce. So, before seeking a divorce, get an idea of your financial rights with a professional who will help you seek the best course of action and save you from being cleaned out.