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A Family Law Firm
  • Deena Soliman Braun

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property in Florida: Understanding the Differences

In Florida, marital property and non-marital property are distinct legal categories that play a crucial role in divorce proceedings. Understanding the differences between these two types of property is essential for couples navigating the complexities of divorce and property division. Let's explore what constitutes marital and non-marital property in Florida and how they are treated under the law.

Marital Property

Marital property, also known as marital assets, includes any assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This can encompass a wide range of assets, including:

  • Real estate properties acquired during the marriage

  • Vehicles purchased during the marriage

  • Bank accounts, retirement accounts, and investment accounts opened during the marriage

  • Businesses started or acquired during the marriage

  • Personal property acquired during the marriage, such as furniture, electronics, and jewelry

In Florida, marital property is subject to equitable distribution upon divorce, which means that it is divided fairly but not necessarily equally between the spouses. The court considers various factors, such as the duration of the marriage, each spouse's financial circumstances, and contributions to the marriage, when determining how to divide marital property.

Non-Marital Property

Non-marital property, also known as separate property, includes assets and debts that belong exclusively to one spouse and are not subject to division upon divorce. Non-marital property may include:

  • Property owned by one spouse before the marriage

  • Inheritances received by one spouse before or during the marriage

  • Gifts given to one spouse before or during the marriage

  • Property acquired by one spouse using non-marital funds or assets

  • Property designated as non-marital in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

In Florida, non-marital property remains the sole property of the spouse who owns it and is not subject to division during divorce proceedings. However, it's essential to note that non-marital property can become commingled with marital property, making it more challenging to distinguish between the two. For example, if funds from a joint bank account are used to pay the mortgage on a property owned by one spouse before the marriage, the property's status may become contested.

Key Differences

The primary differences between marital and non-marital property in Florida include:

  1. Ownership: Marital property is jointly owned by both spouses and subject to division upon divorce, while non-marital property is owned exclusively by one spouse and not subject to division.

  2. Acquisition: Marital property is acquired during the marriage, while non-marital property may be acquired before or during the marriage through inheritance, gifts, or ownership prior to marriage.

  3. Division Upon Divorce: Marital property is subject to equitable distribution, where the court determines a fair division based on various factors, while non-marital property remains with the owning spouse.

Conclusion

Understanding the distinctions between marital and non-marital property is crucial for couples navigating divorce proceedings in Florida. While marital property is subject to division, non-marital property remains the sole property of the owning spouse. However, the determination of property classification can be complex, especially when assets are commingled or subject to dispute. Seeking guidance from a qualified family law attorney can help ensure that your rights and interests are protected throughout the divorce process.



What are the differences between marital and non marital property in Florida
Marita vs. Non Marital Property in Florida

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