Fully separating financial resources can be a major challenge for those preparing for divorce in Florida. Spouses tend to disagree about what would be the most reasonable way to divide their shared assets and any debts that they have acquired during their marriage.
Some couples also have a difficult time agreeing on which assets are subject to division and which should not be. A marital estate generally consists of all the property and financial obligations acquired during the marriage. Yet, there are certain resources that are not part of the marital estate and are, instead, classified as the separate property of one spouse.
Resources acquired prior to marriage
Many people already have a vehicle and a variety of other personal resources when they decide to get married. Those assets will typically remain their separate property throughout the marriage and in the event of a divorce. Retaining records that establish that someone owned certain assets before getting married will help them protect those resources as separate when they divorce.
Inherited assets and gifts
One spouse might receive a large bequest when their parents die. Those assets will usually remain the separate property of the person named in someone’s testamentary documents. Gifts given by friends and family will also usually be the separate property of the person receiving those assets from their loved ones unless they have been truly comingled.
Resources set aside in a marital agreement
Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are contracts between spouses that can achieve a variety of different goals. Typically, such contracts will include guidelines for property division if people divorce. Spouses sometimes set aside certain assets as separate property in those agreements. The courts will potentially uphold those agreements during Florida divorce proceedings.
However, mistakes such as commingling personal property with marital resources might mean that assets that would ordinarily be considered separate property may be reclassified as part of the marital estate. As such, people generally need to look over their financial records with the assistance of an attorney to accurately determine what they can retain and what they must divide with their spouses. Ultimately, understanding what assets are subject to division will be key to securing the best possible outcome in a Florida divorce.