What is considered Marital property in the state of Florida?by St. Petersburg/Florida Family Law Attorney on 02/06/16
The general rule in a Florida divorce is that the court considers and divides up the "marital property" of the ex-spouses and that the non-marital property of each party remains with the spouse that owns that particular property. When dividing up the marital property, the court is expected to be guided by principles of equity, making sure that the marital property division treats both spouses in a fair (but not necessarily in an exactly similar) manner. The judge, depending on the circumstances might not necessarily divide marital property 50/50, instead he/she might divide it 70/30 or 60/40, etc. Let's see how the court determines what can be classified as marital property?
Florida Statute 61.075 eloquently lays out what constitutes marital property in the State of Florida. It includes:
Assets acquired during the marriage: If a particular property or asset was purchased during the marriage, or acquired during the marriage, it most cases it is considered marital property. It is not relevant if the property or asset was acquired by one or both spouses. Let's say for example, a husband purchases a classic car during the course of his marriage to his wife, that classic car will be construed as marital property, even if the husband paid for the car with money from his own paycheck and only his name appears on the title. The car is still likely to be treated as marital property.
Enhancement in value and appreciation of non-marital assets: If a non-marital asset becomes more valuable because one of the work of one or both spouses spent marital funds or assets on improving it, the enhancement can be considered marital property. This situation frequently arises when one spouse owns a business from before the marriage. After the marriage, the other spouse becomes an employee of the business. By the efforts of both parties, the business expands and increases in value. That increase in value would be considered marital property, even if the business existed before the marriage. another example would be with real property owned prior to the marriage by one spouse. Let's say that the wife owned a house in her name prior to the marriage. Her name appears on the mortgage and title. After she marries her husband, both of them spend a considerable amount of money improving and adding on to the house. As a result of their efforts, the house appreciates in value. That appreciation would be considered marital property.
Real and personal property held as tenants by the entireties: If the parties hold property as tenants by the entireties, then that property is presumed to be a marital asset. Tenants by the entireties is a special form of ownership available only to married couples. In order to be held as tenants by the entireties:
Both spouses must have an identical interest in the property;
The parties must have been marries at the time they acquired the property;
The spouses' interest must have been granted by the same instrument; and
The spouses' interest must have began at the same time.
Certain retirement benefits: The statutes also includes "vested and nonvested" benefits, rights, and funds that accumulated during the marriage in any sort or retirement or insurance plan will be considered marital property. Suppose Bob works for an employer who provides a 401K. Before the marriage, Bob had accumulated $20,000 in that 401K plan. After marrying Gina, he accumulated an additional $40,000 in his retirement plan before Gina and Bob divorced. While the $20,000 was acquired before the marriage (and will most likely be treated as non-marital property), the $40,000 would be considered marital property.
As a divorce lawyer in St. Petersburg, FL who practices Family Law, our law firm focuses on various subsets surrounding Florida divorce laws. While dealing with a divorce can be very emotional, as your divorce lawyer, I will handle your matter efficiently with courtesy and care. The divorce process may seem overwhelming at first, but choosing an attorney that has handled divorces can help immensely in navigating through landmines, especially in St. Petersburg. Whether it's child custody, child support, division of marital assets, I can help. Please don't hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. We also offer low cost in-office consultations in our St. Petersburg, FL office.