Bruce Law Firm December 2018

Understanding Divorce Basics


The Best Divorce is achievable when you have a basic understanding of divorce law. When we say basic understanding, we mean having a base knowledge of the relevant laws that are going to apply to and govern your divorce. These basics usually determine the boundaries of what type of settlement package is possible. There’s no need for you to know everything — after all, that’s why divorce attorneys spend four years at law school — but knowing the basics will help you make informed decisions and be prepared when it comes to your divorce. One area included in the basics is the division of property. In most cases, each spouse will receive 50 percent of the Marital Net Worth in a divorce. “Marital Net Worth” refers to assets or liability either spouse accumulated during the marriage. Earnings, debts, and savings may all be part of the Marital Net Worth, as well as any businesses. Although overall Marital Net Worth is divided equally, each liability or asset — a house or bank account — may not be. The goal is for each spouse to leave the marriage with an equal value of property. There are a few exceptions to the 50 percent division of property. Assets and liabilities that are owned before the marriage or inherited as a gift during the marriage are considered nonmarital. If these were kept separate from marital property, they are not divided in the divorce. The burden of proof then falls on the spouse to demonstrate an asset or liability as nonmarital. Some states, like Florida, give a judge the right to decide on an equitable distribution of property, meaning the judge may decide on a different distribution of property than the 50-50 division. That said, it rarely happens.



According to the Pew Research Center, Christmas is the most celebrated December holiday in the U.S. Yet, like the melting pot it is, the U.S. contains many cultures from across the globe, each with their own traditions. Teach your kids about some of the holiday celebrations from different cultures this season. KWANZAA Created in 1966 by black studies professor Maulana Karenga during the Black Nationalist Movement, Kwanzaa is a seven-day celebration and reflection period for African Americans. The week offers African Americans the opportunity to connect with African culture and history by celebrating the seven principles of African heritage, which include unity, self-determination, and creativity. HANUKKAH Hanukkah pays homage to a two-year Jewish rebellion against an oppressive Greek- Syrian government that took them captive in an attempt to eliminate Judaism. The tradition of the eight-day celebration and the lighting of the menorah candles comes from the story of a miracle that happened during the rebellion, when a one-day supply of oil burned for eight days in a temple. DIWALI Though celebrated in late fall, Diwali is a Hindu holiday that’s known as the festival of lights. Its main purpose is to celebrate the triumph of good over evil, and the five-day festival includes the lighting of candles or lamps, feasting, and giving gifts to family and friends. Diwali also celebrates the Hindu new year and is the largest, most widely celebrated festival in India. This is not an exhaustive list by any means, but educating your children about holiday practices other than Christmas will give them a broader worldview and inspire them to gain further knowledge about cultures outside their own. Your local library is a great resource for children’s literature on these holidays, and there are also TV programs from PBS that feature episodes on these traditions. Enjoy the winter holiday season, however you decide to celebrate!

Division of property is just one of the topics covered in the Florida Divorce Law Guide Basics. To learn more about these resources, visit

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