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The Difference Between Marital and Non-Marital Assets
Any asset deemed a “marital” asset is subject to equitable distribution under Florida divorce law. Non-marital assets are kept separately and, therefore, not subject to distribution. For most couples, deciphering the differences between marital and non-marital assets is complex. While categorizing assets is one of the more difficult tasks in a divorce, it is necessary in order for a couple to move forward with their settlement negotiations.
What is Marital Property?
Marital property is any type of income, assets, and liabilities (debts) that the couple acquired during the marriage. This can include the income for both individuals, real estate, etc. Even if the property’s title only states one of the spouses, if it was purchased during the marriage it is still considered a marital asset.
Some examples of marital assets can include:
The family home
Stocks and bonds
Social Security income
Insurance and retirement benefits
Gifts received by the couple during the marriage, including wedding gifts
Furnishings, art, wine collections, etc.
What is Non-Marital Property?
Non-marital properties are any assets or possessions that each spouse received or acquired prior to the marriage. This can include things such as:
Assets specifically designated non-marital assets in a pre- or postnuptial agreement
Accounts – as long as they are not shared jointly after the marriage
The Co-Mingling Rule
While there are assets that a spouse may have acquired prior to the marriage, those assets can be considered marital assets by the court if there is evidence of co-mingling. For example, one spouse has a brokerage account before the marriage. Once married, that spouse adds the other spouse’s name to the account, turning it into a joint brokerage account. This could be considered a marital asset depending on the exact circumstances.
Also, if a spouse performs duties or activities that enhance the value of a non-marital asset or if marital monies are spent on a non-marital asset, said non-marital assets could have some marital value.
Any assets the court deems marital assets are then subject to equitable distribution. While the goal of this law is to ensure spouses receive a fair share of their marital assets, it does not necessarily mean every asset will be split 50/50. It is best that couples work together to come to an agreement for how they will distribute marital assets before going to court. If they leave it to a divorce court judge, they may find that distribution does not go in their favor.
Confused About Marital Assets? Contact McMichen, Cinami & Demps Today
The division of assets is one of the most complicated parts of a divorce. The attorneys at McMichen, Cinami & Demps can assist you with determining which assets are eligible for distribution and ensure you each get a fair share of the assets held by your marriage.