Florida Divorce: When Does Separate Property Become Marital Property?
Dividing property and assets is one of the hardest parts of getting a divorce. In Florida, divorcing couples are entitled to an “equitable” share of the marital property. Each spouse gets to retain their own separate property. You may have a question: Is it possible for separate property to become marital property? The answer is ‘yes.’ Here, our Boca Raton equitable distribution lawyer explains the key things to know about when separate property can become a marital asset under Florida law.
Background: Florida is an Equitable Property Division State
To begin with, it is crucial that divorcing couples understand their rights and responsibilities under state law. Under Florida Statutes § 61.075, a couple’s marital property is subject to equitable distribution rules. Each spouse gets their “fair share.” In many cases, a fair share is an even split. However, that is not required by the law in Florida. An uneven distribution may be deemed equitable. Notably, separate property is not subject to equitable distribution. You get to retain full ownership over any and all separate property.
Separate Property Can Become Marital Property: Here is How it Happens
It is entirely possible for separate property to become marital property in Florida. In fact, if proper steps are not taken to protect separate property, it can easily become a marital asset in the eyes of the Florida law. Here are the two main ways that separate property turns into marital property:
- Gift to the Marriage: Separate property can be turned into marital property through gifting—either formally or informally. If a spouse decides to make their separate property marital property, they have the right to do so without signing any documents. Intent alone can turn separate assets into marital property.
- Commingled Assets: Separate property can become marital property even if a spouse does not want it to happen. In Florida, property, funds, and other assets that are commingled can become marital property. For example, imagine that one spouse has $10,000 in cash. If that money is deposited into a joint bank account and mixed in with marital funds, then it can turn into marital property in Florida.
It is not uncommon for conflicts to arise in the divorce process when there are questions about whether separate property has become marital property. If this is an issue in your case, it is imperative that you have skilled legal counsel. An experienced South Florida divorce attorney will protect your rights and help you find the best solution for your specific situation.
Schedule a Confidential Consultation With a South Florida Divorce Lawyer
At Williams & Varsegi, LLC, our Florida divorce lawyer has extensive experience handling complex property division cases, including in high net worth divorces. If you have questions about when separate property can become a marital asset, we can help. Contact us today for a confidential case assessment. We provide divorce representation in Boca Raton, Coral Springs, Parkland, and throughout Palm Beach and Broward County.