Equitable Distribution Florida Divorce

In fashioning an equitable distribution scheme, the trial court is required to set apart to each spouse his or her nonmarital assets and liabilities because those are not subject to equitable distribution. See 61.075(1), Fla. Stat. (1997). The trial court must then identify and value the marital assets and distribute those equitably between the parties. Id. See also Robertson v. Robertson, 593 So. 2d 491 (Fla. 1991); Embry v. Embry, 650 So. 2d 190 (Fla. 2d DCA 1995). The trial court must begin its distribution with the premise that the distribution should be equal unless equitable factors compel a different result. See Robertson, 593 So. 2d at 493; Lavelle v. Lavelle, 634 So. 2d 1111, 1112 (Fla. 2d DCA 1994). The final distribution must be supported by factual findings based on substantial competent evidence. See 61.075(3), Fla. Stat. (1997). A final judgment which purports to equitably distribute the parties' marital assets but which fails to comply with the statutory requirements is difficult, if not impossible, to review and requires reversal. See Staton v. Staton, 710 So. 2d 744, 745 (Fla. 2d DCA), review denied, 728 So. 2d 205 (Fla. 1998).