In a Florida divorce, property can be a major topic for dispute. This is often viewed from the perspective as to how a home will be divided, who gets to keep savings accounts, stocks and other items the couple had.
However, there can be confusion over the basics such as what constitutes a marital asset or a non-marital asset. From the start of the divorce case, it is important that the sides are aware of how these properties are categorized. This might limit dispute or give each party a strong basis to claim that they are entitled to an asset or are not responsible for a liability.
Recognizing whether a property is a marital or non-marital asset
The simplest aspect of determining if an asset is marital or non-marital is if it was accrued during the marriage. The same is true for liabilities. If they purchased a home with both contributing to it, then it is a marital asset with the amount owed a liability.
It is also a marital asset if property increased in value during the marriage even if it was a non-marital asset. This will be based on the efforts of either party or contribution to its acquisition and rise in value. One person who owned a home before the marriage could claim it as separate property, but its spike in value could be shared.
Non-marital assets and liabilities would be that which one person accumulated prior to the marriage. If one person owned an automobile, had jewelry or collectibles prior to the marriage, it will generally remain non-marital.
Other types of non-marital assets include gifts given to each other or properties that were inherited by one of the parties. Income that came about from non-marital assets while the couple was married will be separate unless they treated it as if it was a marital asset.
In some cases, the parties will have a written agreement detailing that an asset or liability belongs to one person. Or they might have exchanged assets or liabilities. These will then be non-marital when they get a divorce and not subject to equitable distribution.
For property division and marital or non-marital property, competent help can be essential
This is a broad-based explanation as to what constitutes marital and non-marital property. There are other factors that may come into focus as part of a family law case such as claiming that the other person forged a signature leading to a liability or there is a disagreement as to the level of contribution to a property’s appreciation in value.
For help with these complex cases, it is important to contact experienced, caring and knowledgeable professionals who treat every case and person individually.