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Equitable asset distribution: Knowing the difference between marital and non-marital property

On Behalf of | May 14, 2024 | Firm News |

Division of assets between you and your spouse is a crucial and often complicated aspect in divorce. It is helpful to have a basic understanding of how this portion of the divorce works so you can better ensure you get your fair share of assets after you finalize the divorce.

In high-asset divorce cases, determining how these assets are divided is challenging, which is why it is important to know the difference between marital property and non-marital property.

Marital property

Marital property generally refers to anything that you and your spouse acquired while you were married. Florida law notes these properties and assets are subject to equal division. This usually includes real estate, including your family home and other commercial or residential properties purchased as an investment. It also includes financial assets such as bank accounts, securities, pensions and retirement accounts as well as motor vehicles, furniture, appliances and artwork purchased jointly.

Non-marital property

Do you have valuable collectibles that you purchased prior to getting married that you wish to remain yours? Or maybe you inherited assets. Do you have gifts from a third party that you received during your marriage? You do not need to worry about sharing these to your spouse, as these are non-marital or separate property.

Keep in mind though that non-marital property loses that status if it commingles with marital property. Here are some common scenarios of non-marital property gaining a marital component:

  • If you keep your inheritance in a joint bank account with your spouse
  • Making loan payments after the marriage to a car even if it is solely titled
  • Using marital assets to make improvements or repairs to an inherited piece of real estate

Similarly, you can exclude specific assets from marital property through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to better ensure that they remain solely yours.

Distributing assets in a divorce can be tricky, but clearly defining the type of property helps to better ensure you and your spouse get what is rightfully yours. This post provides a start to the conversation. Those with complicated assets are wise to seek legal counsel to better ensure proper and fair division of during the divorce.