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People may protect assets by proving they are separate property

On Behalf of | Jun 8, 2023 | Property Division

One of the most frustrating parts of divorce in Florida is the requirement to divide one’s property with a spouse. Some people are able to protect some of their assets ahead of time by negotiating marital agreements. Others have to prepare to divide any marital assets and debts either through direct negotiations, mediation or litigation in family court.

Thankfully, not every single asset someone owns will be at risk of division. Some of their property may be separate assets that they don’t have to split. What constitutes separate property during a Florida divorce?

Assets owned before marriage

It would be quite unfair for someone to have all of their income and property acquired in the decades before their marriage at risk after their relationship ends. Resources purchased and income earned prior to marriage will generally not be subject to division.

Inherited property and gifts

If someone’s parents die after they get married and leave their child a direct inheritance, those assets generally will not be subject to division in the divorce. Gifts given to one individual will typically not be at risk of division either.

However, even assets that would often be separate property can be at risk of division in a divorce. Commingling can make property vulnerable to division. Giving someone access to a bank account or otherwise giving them control over what should be separate property could give them a partial claim to an interest in those assets later. Commingling doesn’t just mean adding someone to a bank account but possibly also actions like letting someone live in a home and contribute to its upkeep costs or allowing someone to work without compensation at a family business. The wrong choices can make certain assets more vulnerable during divorce and can complicate the entire process.

For many people preparing for a divorce in Florida, clearly establishing which assets are their separate property can go a long way toward helping them secure the most favorable results possible during their divorce. Reviewing personal holdings is a smart starting point for those preparing for marital dissolution in the Sunshine State.