What’s the difference between marital and non-marital property?

Dividing up your assets in a divorce can be a frightening and frustrating experience. No matter how much money is at stake, people can be very protective of what they feel they deserve and go to great lengths to try and protect their financial future. If you are unfamiliar with laws regarding property division in Florida, you can be even more concerned about what you can expect as you navigate the divorce process.

However, having some basic information about the asset division process in this state can help allay some of your concerns if you are in this situation. To being with, you should understand that not every dollar, asset or debt will automatically be divided.

Property and money belonging to the couple (also called marital assets) will be divided in accordance with what is deemed equitable or fair. Non-marital property (also called separate property) will typically be returned to the individual who owns it.

Non-marital property refers to property that was or is owned by only one person. This can include:

  • Homes owned prior to the marriage
  • Financial liabilities incurred before marriage
  • Proceeds from the sale of separate property
  • Money or property received by one spouse as an inheritance or gift
  • Assets deemed separate in a prenuptial agreement

However, it is important to note that even if something was considered separate at one time, it may ultimately become marital property. For instance, if you bought a home before getting married but then used money from shared accounts to maintain the property, it could be considered marital.

Generally speaking, though, separate assets will be retained by the individual owner and will not be eligible for distribution.

If you have specific questions about property, debts or financial accounts and how or if they will be divided in a divorce, it can be crucial to discuss them with your attorney.

FindLaw Network
The Florida Bar | Board Certified
Super Lawyers
Peer Review Rated For Ethical Standards & Legal Ability | AV Preeminent | Martindale-Hubbell from LexisNexis 2020
AFLP | Association of Family Law Professionals
Bar Register | Preeminent Lawyers | 2020 Martindale-Hubbell