Florida is an
equitable distribution state, meaning that the way property and debts are divided in
divorce is determined by what is fair for each spouse. Depending on the details
of the divorce, what may be fair to one spouse may leave another with
less property than they expected to receive. However, the only property
that can be equitably divided is the marital property, or property and
debts that have been obtained since the couple got married.
About Property Owned Before Marriage
Property obtained outside of the marriage is considered "separate
property" and can oftentimes be left out of divorce proceedings.
What Happens to Separate Property During Divorce?
Separate property is also known as non-marital property, which is not subjected
to the rules of division in divorce. However, there are some cases where
separate property becomes marital property and is not exempted from divorce
Property can be considered separate if it was:
- Owned before the marriage
- Gifted by someone else during the marriage
- Received through an inheritance
- Outlined as separate in a premarital agreement
- Income from separate property, as long as it has not been treated as marital property
- Exchanged or purchased with separate property
Can Separate Property Become Marital Property?
There are some ways that separate property can become marital property.
If one spouse changes the title on property they own to a joint title,
it can be considered a gift to their spouse and becomes marital property.
In addition, any separate property that increases in value due to marital
funds of the involvement of either spouse is considered marital property.
An example of this would be the involvement of one spouse in a business
owned by the other. The profit made as a result of the spouse's work
in the business would be considered marital property. Finally, when separate
property is mixed with marital property, such as depositing marital funds
into a separate bank account, that property becomes marital property.
Need to Prove Your Property Before Marriage? Call (407) 501-4052.
In many instances, proving that a property is separate involves detailed
financial records and statements ensuring that no crossover of finances
occurred to intermingle with marital property. This can usually be complicated and time-consuming, but it also worth
it. Proving separate property can help prevent the other spouse from obtaining
assets that do not belong to them.
Contact Richard A. Heller, P.A. for help with your case today.