Classifying Property in Your Florida Divorce
One of the most difficult aspects of a divorce is the division of assets, particularly when there may be both marital property and separate property involved. It is essential that property be classified as marital or non-marital property, because that classification will be relevant to how the property is divided in your Florida divorce.
Marital Property Under Florida Law
Under Florida Statute 61.075(a), five different types of property qualify as marital property. If an asset is classified as marital property, then it is subject to division between the spouses during their divorce. Marital property consists of the following:
- – Assets that were acquired during the marriage, either jointly or by one spouse, even if only one spouse’s income financed the purchase of the assets;
- – Any increase in value or appreciation of non-marital assets that accrued during the parties’ marriage as a result of the efforts of either spouse, or from the contribution of marital assets to enhance the value of the non-marital asset, such as in the case of a business that was owned by one spouse prior to the marriage;
- – Gifts given by one spouse to the other spouse during the marriage;
- – Vested and non-vested rights and benefits that were acquired by either spouse during the marriage, including retirement and other investment plans; and
- – All property held by the spouses as tenants by the entirety, including real estate and personal property.
Non-Marital or Separate Property Under Florida Law
Florida law also strictly sets forth the definition of non-marital property, which is not subject to division during a divorce. Non-marital property includes the following:
- – Assets that were acquired by either spouse during the marriage;
- – Property that was acquired separately by a gift or inheritance from someone other than one of the spouses;
- – Assets that the spouses agreed would be excluded from the marital estate, such as through a prenuptial agreement; and
- – Any property that was acquired in exchange for non-marital assets during the marriage.
Distinguishing Between Marital and Non-Marital Property
While the definitions for both marital and non-marital property are clear, classifying property into one category or the other is not always so straightforward. Especially in the case of more complex assets, the classification of such an asset may be hotly contested by the parties during divorce proceedings. A good example of this would be a business owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, but that increased in value during the marriage because both spouses worked at the business and/or contributed marital assets to it. Proving that an asset is either marital or non-marital property requires a clear understanding of the legal principles concerning property division in a divorce, as well as the necessary standard of proof.
Contact Your South Florida Divorce Attorney Today
Determining whether an asset is marital or non-marital property is an essential part of any divorce, especially where significant assets are involved. However, the process of classifying the parties’ assets can be complex, so you should always consult with an experienced Florida divorce attorney before attempting to take on this endeavor on your own. Contact Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC, today, and learn how we can assist you with all of your divorce and family law needs.