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New Florida Divorce Law (July 1, 2024) – HB 521


HB 521 becomes effective today, July 1, 2024. The new Florida law makes some important changes to how equitable distribution is handled in a Florida divorce.

Pinellas Family Lawyer

The first change HB 521 made was the addition of the following language to Florida Statute 61.075(5)(d) describing what must be considered by the court to justify an interim partial judgment:

…In determining if extraordinary circumstances exist for purposes of this subsection, the court must consider the following:

1. Whether there is a need for funds in order to avoid or prevent the loss of an asset through repossession or foreclosure, the loss of housing, the default by either party of a marital debt, or the levy of a tax lien.

2. Whether there is a need for funds to pay an expense for a dependent child if nonpayment of the expense would be detrimental to the child.

3. Whether one or both parties have a need to access funds in order to pay a reasonable amount of the attorney fees, court costs, or other suit money for maintaining or defending a proceeding under this chapter.

4. Any other circumstances that justify the entry of an order granting an interim partial equitable distribution.

Florida Statute 61.075(5)(d)

HB 521 also changed the law to require that any interspousal gift be evidenced in writing with the same formalities of Fla. Stat. 689.01.

The joinder of a spouse in the execution of a deed with the sole purpose of the conveyance of homestead real property to any person or entity other than the other spouse or both spouses jointly does not change the character of the real property being conveyed, or any proceeds from the sale thereof, to marital property.

Fla. Stat. 61.075(6)(a)1.d.

HB 521 now spells out how a family business or closely held business is valued when deciding issues of equitable distribution.

The marital interests in a closely held business. The court shall determine the value of the marital interests in a closely held business as follows:

(I) The standard of value of a closely held business is fair market value. For purposes of this sub-subparagraph, the term “fair market value” means the price at which property would change hands between a willing and able buyer and a willing and able seller, with neither party under compulsion to buy or sell, and when both parties have reasonable knowledge of the relevant facts.

(II) If there is goodwill separate and distinct from the continued presence and reputation of the owner spouse, it is considered enterprise goodwill, which is a marital asset that must be valued by the court.

(III) The court must consider evidence that a covenant not to compete or a similar restrictive covenant may be required upon the sale of the closely held business, but such evidence alone does not preclude the court from finding enterprise goodwill.

Fla. Stat. 61.075(6)(a)1.f.

HB 521 also changed Fla. Stat. 689.01(6)(b) to add a sixth situation to be considered as nonmarital assets and liabilities

Real property acquired separately by either party by noninterspousal gift, bequest, devise, or descent for which legal title has not been transferred to the parties as tenants by the entireties in accordance with this section.

Fla. Stat. 61.075(6)(b)6.

The new law made some other grammatical changes to the language of Fla. Stat. 61.075, however no substantial changes were made regarding things such as the burden of proof to overcome the gift presumption and presumptions regarding property titled as tenants by the entireties.

Call Pinellas Family Lawyer today to discuss how the new Florida divorce law affects your divorce case. 727-538-7741

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