How Do Commingled Assets Apply to My Divorce?
In any divorce proceeding, the property, assets, and liabilities incurred during the marriage will be divided between both parties. Property division in Florida is done equitably, which means in a manner that seems fair and reasonable, though not necessarily even. Anything purchased or acquired before the marriage is exempt and remains with the person to which it belongs.
Determining the difference between marital and non-marital property is a key element in these proceedings. Generally, early in the marriage when buying property or opening joint checking or savings accounts, couples do not anticipate getting a divorce or the impact that putting their own money towards accounts or purchases can have on property division. The following explains what the term ‘commingling’ means, how it happens, and how it could apply to your divorce proceedings.
Marital Property, Non-Marital Property, and Commingled Assets
Section 61.075 of the Florida Statutes outlines the guidelines the court uses in dividing property in an equitable manner. Factors that go into making these decisions include the length of the marriage, the economic circumstances of each party, the contributions each made to the career or educational advancement of the other, and the contributions each made to acquiring debts and assets. In these proceedings, the court specifies two distinct types of property:
- Marital assets: These include any real estate, furnishings, cars, boats, or other type of property bought during the marriage, and any financial accounts, stocks and pension or deferred benefits earned throughout this time. It also includes any interspousal gifts given during the marriage.
- Non-marital assets: These include any property or assets earned, bought, or received prior to the marriage, as well as gifts given to a particular spouse by family members or friends and any inheritances received.
Commingled assets are non-marital assets that get mixed into marital assets, and they present special challenges when it comes to property division.
Dividing Commingled Assets
Black’s Law Dictionary defines commingled assets as items mixed together, in such as a way that they cannot be separated without taking the whole thing apart. In a business, this is a dangerous practice that involves mixing personal funds with those of a firm or company, and involves heavy tax penalties. In a marriage, most couples commingle their money without thinking twice about it.
Unfortunately, if the marriage breaks up, this can be a problem. Examples of commingled accounts include:
- Using money from an inheritance to put a down payment on a home, after which several years of mortgage payments are made.
- Getting profits from a business that was started before the marriage and putting those profits into a joint checking account.
Money that started off as non-marital property becomes marital property over time, and it can be difficult, if not impossible, to separate these funds during divorce proceedings.
Contact Our Florida Marital Property Division Attorneys Today
If you are contemplating a divorce and have concerns about property division or commingled assets, contact the Vanessa L. Prieto Law Offices, LLC today. Our experienced Florida divorce attorney provides the professional representation you need at a time like this, using our legal knowledge and skill to help you get the best possible outcome in your case.