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Want to destroy his prized possession? Resist the urge!

If you are going through a Florida divorce, it's understandable that your emotions are all over the place. This is further heightened if you have learned that your spouse has cheated on you or done you wrong in some other way. You're mad. You're hurt. You want to get even.

Maybe you've been watching Angela Bassett's burning car scene in "Waiting to Exhale" over and over with a grin on your face and a manic look in your eye. You see "She-Devil" as a primer for divorce revenge. Stop. Breathe. Hollywood may have convinced scorned exes across the country that a mad rampage against your spouse's property is a good idea. Heck, even Beyonce's new Lemonadevideo "Hold up" celebrates property destruction after a partner cheats. The divorce court reality is something quite different.

Destroying your estranged husband's prized possessions may feel really good. But, it could feel really bad and take a bite out of your wallet later. Florida divorce laws do not look kindly at your urge to assuage you anger and pain with a bonfire built on your soon to be ex's possessions.

Florida divorce law or "thou shalt not destroy your spouse's stuff"

Florida Statute § 61.075 addresses equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities, and the factors the judge considers when he or she rules on how your property and debts will be divided.

You essentially start on equal footing, so that the goal is to divide everything up fairly. Don't mistake this for equally or evenly. Florida is not a community property state. What this means is that the judge will look at specific criteria to determine how to distribute your marital assets in a fair fashion. The judge will start with 50/50, but then will look at each of the statutory factors to adjust that equation.

Guess what one of those criteria is?

  • "The intentional dissipation, waste, depletion, or destruction of marital assets after the filing of the petition or within 2 years prior to the filing of the petition"

So, what that means ladies, is that when your husband brings in pictures of his keyed car, flattened tires, burnt clothing and shattered golf clubs, it matters. It matters deeply.

Take the high road and "thou shalt be rewarded for your restraint"

So, the moral of this story is that your spouse may have been a jerk, selfish with his time, lied to you, disparaged you and may have even cheated on you. However, skip the impulse to get short-term gratification by destroying his prize possessions. As good as it might feel, it's a fleeting sensation that won't fly in court.

Instead, bide your time and show restraint to ensure that your property settlement is equitable and fair for you! Hey, you can always work to get the assets in court, and have a good bonfire later.

If you are facing a Florida divorce, the guidance of an experienced divorce attorney is invaluable. Listen to their advice and let them help you avoid these and other potential pitfalls in your divorce settlement.