Frank Family Law Practice
(407) 629-2208

An equitable split: Examining property division in Florida - II

A few weeks back, our blog began discussing how the division of property is one of the most important issues to divorcing spouses, often trailing only child custody and visitation. More significantly, we began discussing how Florida is an equitable division state -- meaning property is divided in an evenhanded manner, not automatically 50-50 -- and the factors that judges may consider when making this determination.

In today's post, we'll continue this discussion by examining the difference between separate property and marital property, and why the distinction matters.

Separate property

Under Florida law, separate property, otherwise known as “non-marital assets and liabilities," includes any of the following:

  • Property owned (and debts incurred) before the marriage
  • Property received as a gift during the marriage
  • Property secured via inheritance during the marriage
  • Property (and debts) designated as separate in binding and valid agreements (i.e., prenuptial agreements)
  • Property exchanged for or otherwise purchased using separate property
  • Income derived from separately owned property and maintained as such

Marital property

As you might imagine, marital property is simply any assets or debt secured by either spouse during the course of the marriage -- regardless of whether it's titled in the name of one spouse or jointly.

Some common examples of marital property include:

  • Interspousal gifts exchanged during the marriage
  • Property, bank accounts, and both vested and non-vested job-related benefits (i.e., deferred compensation, profit-sharing and retirement accounts)
  • Real property held by the couple as "tenants by the entireties"
  • Increases in the value of separate property during the marriage if these increases are attributable to the use of marital funds or the non-owner spouse's efforts

Regarding debt, it's important for people to understand that if a soon-to-be former spouse opened a credit card several years prior to the divorce and proceeded to run up a sizeable balance, this will likely be viewed as a being the responsibility of both spouses.

The two distinctions matter because a court cannot consider separate property when making its determination concerning property division.

Furthermore, while it would seem like this is always a relatively straightforward issue, it can rapidly become very complex, particularly where "commingling," meaning the mixing of separate and marital property, occurs.

Please consider speaking with a skilled legal professional if you have any questions or concerns about property division here in the Sunshine State.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

Meet the Team

attorney attorney attorney

Contact Us

Frank Family Law Practice
815 Orienta Avenue
Suite 1030
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701

Phone: 407-629-2208
Fax: 407.629.2209
Map & Directions