Separating your personal property, real estate, financial assets, and debt is a difficult part of divorce. Even when a couple has not acquired much property, dividing what they do have can be complicated and contentious. If you are considering divorce, have started the process, or have been served divorce papers, you need an experienced divorce attorney on your side while working through the division of your property and assets.
At Fournier Law, we have a combined 50+ years of experience advocating for clients throughout the divorce process, including the division of property. We help clients in Tallahassee, Florida, and the Big Bend region navigate this difficult time and move forward with their lives.
In Florida, marital property includes assets and debts. Marital property is subject to division in divorce while nonmarital property is not. Although it may sound easy to determine what is marital property and what is not, it is not always black and white.
Marital property includes everything acquired separately and individually during the marriage, including retirement investments and annuities, stocks, insurance plans, and deferred compensation. This category also includes gifts given from one spouse to the other.
This category includes real estate and personal property owned by a spouse before the marriage, received through inheritance during the marriage, or gifts from someone other than the spouse. If the value of nonmarital property has increased with the help of the other spouse during the marriage, the difference in the premarital value and the value at the time of divorce is considered marital property. For example, if one spouse owned a house before marriage and the other spouse renovated it during the marriage, some or all of the increasing in its value is marital property.
Nonmarital property can also become marital property if the spouse owner adds the other spouse to the deed or if the other spouse helps pay the mortgage. Likewise, the bank account a spouse had prior to marriage can become marital property if marital monies are deposited in it during the marriage.
Who determines what is marital or nonmarital property, the value of marital property, and how marital property is divided in a Florida divorce depends largely on whether the divorce is uncontested or contested.
If you and your spouse can agree on the division of your marital assets and debt, and you have no minor children, you can complete and sign a Martial Settlement Agreement deciding which are marital, who gets what, and how they are valued.
If you and your spouse are unable to agree, your divorce is contested, which means the court will make those decisions.
Florida divorce law states that marital property be divided equitably among the parties. This does not mean assets and debts are distributed 50/50. In a contested matter, a judge can be asked to weigh several factors in deciding how marital property is divided, including: