When couples divorce in Florida, they must divide their property. Each spouse should receive an equitable or fair portion of the marital estate. Divorcing spouses either negotiate their own terms with one another or ask a judge to settle their disagreements. Regardless of which approach people employ, they will likely find themselves disagreeing about certain details due to the complexity of the circumstances that must be addressed.
The marital estate generally includes any assets acquired during the marriage. However, couples may also have separate or non-marital property that will not be subject to division during their divorce. What property might constitute non-marital assets that people will not need to share in a Florida divorce?
Gifts and inheritances
Resources obtained by someone outside of the marriage can remain the separate property of the spouse granted those resources. Generally speaking, gifts from one spouse to the other will be part of the marital estate and are subject to division. However, gifts received by someone other than a spouse will be separate property that is not subject to division in the divorce. If either spouse inherits property during the marriage, those inherited assets will also usually be separate property that is not at risk of division during the divorce proceedings.
Assets from before the marriage
People often accumulate significant personal wealth before getting married or starting a family. Whether they already owned a small business or purchased a home that they paid off before getting married, those assets may still be their separate property.
Resources owned solely by either spouse prior to marriage will usually remain their separate property in the event of a divorce. So will any interest earned on those assets or other property acquired by using separate property. The exception to this rule is when commingling occurs. If one spouse deposits separate property into a shared marital account or otherwise gives their spouse an ownership interest in or control over their separate property, it could be vulnerable during a Florida divorce.
Reviewing financial records to establish what is separate property and what is not will often be a crucial step for those preparing for divorce negotiations or litigation.