In order for a court to make an equitable distribution of marital assets, Fla. Stat. § 61.075(3) requires the court to make specific factual findings. See Segall v. Segall, 708 So. 2d 983, 985 (Fla. 4th DCA 1998). Section 61.075(3) mandates written findings as to the following:

(a) Clear identification of nonmarital assets and ownership interests;

(b) Identification of marital assets, including the individual valuation of significant assets, and designation of which spouse shall be entitled to each asset;

(c) Identification of the marital liabilities and designation of which spouse shall be responsible for each liability;

(d) Any other findings necessary to advise the parties or the reviewing court of the trial court’s rationale for the distribution of marital assets and allocation of liabilities.

In Segall, the trial court provided the wife with a greater, and therefore unequal, distribution of the marital assets. The trial court’s basis for the unequal distribution was the husband’s alleged significant expenditures to purchase personal items and his dissipation of marital assets. Id. at 985. Under Fla. Stat. § 61.075(1)(i), a spouse’s intentional depletion or waste of marital assets is a factor the court should consider in distributing marital assets.

The Fourth District in Segall found on appeal that the evidence in the record did not support the trial court’s unequal distribution of assets. Id. at 986, citing Gentile v. Gentile, 565 So. 2d 820 (Fla. 4th DCA 1990)(holding that husband’s mismanagement of the family’s finances did not constitute marital misconduct to be considered in distribution scheme); see also, Monas v. Monas, 665 So. 2d 346, 347 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995)(finding that an unequal distribution of marital assets was not warranted on the basis of husband’s mismanagement of assets).

It is reversible error for a trial court to make an equitable distribution of the parties’ assets, yet not consider and refer to the relevant factors set forth in Fla. Stat. § 61.075(1). See McMonagle v. McMonagle, 617 So. 2d 373, 374 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993), citing Bussey v. Bussey, 611 So. 2d 1354 (Fla. 5th DCA 1993) and Bain v. Bain, 553 So. 2d 1389 (Fla. 5th DCA 1990).


Below are some recent posts  on Florida divorce law:

What are Florida’s Residency Requirements for a Divorce?

Temporary Alimony in Florida (Part 1):  Maintaining a Standard of Living.

Understanding Equitable Distribution in a Florida Divorce.

When Will a Florida Court Award Rehabilitative Alimony?

How Do Florida Courts Determine a Spouse’s Ability to Pay Alimony?