Gaining a Knowledge of the Law
Property division is one of the larger steps in a divorce and also one of the steps that can be filled with the most emotion. It’s normal to be protective of your property and to want to fight for your right to the things you own.
Going into a divorce in Florida, it can be helpful to know what the law says regarding property division and how that may impact your divorce. Here is what you need to know regarding property division in Florida.
Florida law states that property in a divorce must be divided on an equitable division standard. Equitable division means that all assets acquired while a couple was married, whether by one spouse or both spouses, will be divided in a way that is just and fair. These assets are known as marital property; therefore, any asset not falling under this category is known as separate property.
Separate property typically refers to assets brought into a marriage by either spouse but that were owned prior to the marriage. In addition, separate property also consists of assets as laid out in the terms of a prenuptial agreement.
However, some assets acquired during marriage can be considered separate property. For example, if one spouse’s relative passes away and leaves that spouse with a gift or inheritance as named in a will or trust, then that gift or inheritance is considered separate property despite being gained during the marriage.
Can Separate Property Become Marital Property?
In some cases, certain assets could ultimately become marital property, even if it would normally be considered separate property. For example, say that spouse is a homeowner prior to getting married. When they divorce, the value of the home will be calculated, and if the value of the home increases, then the difference between the current value and the value at the time of purchase would become marital property.
In addition, if separate funds were used or put toward any community property, such as the family home, then it could be classified as marital property. Separate property could also be viewed as marital property if both spouses have equal access to said assets over the course of the marriage, even if that asset is considered separate normally.
Not just assets are divided in a divorce; debt must also be dealt with during property division and will be divided in a similar fashion. Any debt such as credit card debt or similar types of debt that is accrued while a couple is married is considered marital and will be divided equitably. Debt brought into the marriage and held by one spouse is generally considered separate; however, if both spouses were putting effort into paying that debt off, then it could be viewed as marital and be up for division between both spouses.
While property division can certainly be complicated for assets such as personal property, real estate, and liquid assets, other assets can present their own unique challenges. Complex assets such as retirement accounts, digital assets, multiple pieces of real estate, businesses, and stock accounts can be more challenging to divide for their own reasons. If any of these assets are present in your divorce, be sure to work with a high-asset divorce attorney who understands how to work through these situations.
Get Help from a Manasota Attorney
When you face property division in a divorce, you could feel anxious about your future and uneasy about the process. Consider working with an attorney for property division and for divorce to give yourself peace of mind. At Schipani, Norman & McLain, P.A., we have helped many clients work through even the most complex property division and have helped them find favorable outcomes at the end of divorce.
Learn more about property division in Florida or schedule a consultation with a member of our team by calling us at (941) 499-8154 or by visiting our website.