One of the biggest concerns for people undergoing a divorce is: who gets what? Aside from issues involving children, the division of marital assets and liabilities is usually what prolongs the divorce proceeding.
What qualifies as marital assets and liabilities?
Generally, assets acquired or liabilities incurred during the marriage is presumed to be marital, regardless of whether it was obtained by one spouse alone or by both spouses together. See Florida Statutes §§ 61.075(6)(a)(1)a., (8); see also, Pfleger v. Pfleger, 558 So. 2d 198, 199 (Fla. 2d DCA 1990); and Canakaris v. Canakaris, 382 So. 2d 1197, 1200 (Fla. 1980).
As defined in Florida Statute § 61.075:
Specifically, Florida Statute § 61.075 defines the term “marital assets and liabilities” to include the following:
- Assets are acquired and liabilities incurred during the marriage by one spouse individually or by both jointly.
- The enhancement in value and the appreciation of nonmarital assets that results from either the efforts of either party during the marriage or the expenditure of marital funds or other marital assets.
- Gifts that were given by one spouse to the other during the marriage.
- All vested and non-vested benefits, rights, and funds that accrued during the marriage in retirement, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, deferred compensation, and insurance plans and programs.
Examples of Real Property:
Pursuant to Florida case law, marital real property includes:
- The parties’ marital home; and
- Income-producing real property such as a commercial property or farm.
Examples of Tangible Property:
Tangible personal property that may qualify as a marital asset includes the following:
- Automobiles and boats; and
- Household furnishings and jewelry.
Examples of Intangible Property:
Additionally, marital assets can include intangible properties, such as the following:
- Partnership contributions;
- Appreciation value of stock holdings;
- Corporate shares;
- Tax refunds;
- Money market and investment accounts;
- Individual retirement accounts;
- Profit-sharing plans;
- Accrued sick leave and vacation time that is worth cash on retirement or some other event;
- Frequent flyer miles;
- Income from jointly managed rental properties; and
- Unvested stock options are received by a spouse from his or her employer.
When can non-marital property be classified as marital?
Sometimes, property that would be considered non-marital may be classified as marital property. For example, income earned from the nonmarital property may become marital property if it is used or relied on by the parties during the marriage.
Another example would be nonmarital assets that are commingled with marital assets. Commingling occurs if the nonmarital property becomes so intermingled with a marital property that the nonmarital property is no longer traceable, and is incapable of being specifically identified as non-marital property.
Nonmarital funds lose their separate identity if they have been commingled in bank accounts or accounts that were used for the parties’ marital income and expenses.
If you have questions about marital assets and liabilities or the divorce process, it’s best to ask a qualified family attorney. Schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys today to review the issues of your case, the legal options you may have, and certain rights that pertain to your unique situation
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