Understanding Marital and non-marital Property
On behalf of The Law Offices of Cindy D. Sackrin posted in Divorce on Thursday, June 2, 2016.
Assets that a couple acquires over the length of a marriage can fill a long list. Assets can include homes, cars, investment accounts, pension plans, stocks, bank accounts, businesses, life insurance, or personal property the couple owns. When assets are divided, liabilities are also considered. Once assets and liabilities are listed, it is necessary to determine which assets are considered marital property and which are considered non-marital property.
The importance of determining what is marital property and what is non-marital property is based on the system of property division when couples divorce. In Florida, equitable property division rules are followed, meaning that the court will seek to divide the property fairly between the divorcing couple. Marital property is divided between the couple; however, non-marital property is not divided. For this reason, it is important to understand and be able to determine what is marital property and what is non-marital property.
Marital assets, in general, include assets or liabilities acquired or incurred by the couple during the marriage; appreciation or enhancement of the value of non-marital assets that result from the efforts of either of the spouses during the marriage or from the contribution of marital funds to the non-marital asset; gifts the spouses give each other during the marriage; vested and non-vested benefits or funds that accrued during the marriage, including retirements, pensions and other assets; and certain properties in certain circumstances.
Non-marital assets include assets or liabilities acquired or incurred by either spouses prior to the marriage; assets acquired by either spouse by inheritance or as a gift from one spouse to the other; income from non-marital assets during the marriage unless the income was used as a marital asset during the marriage; and some other types of property.
While seemingly straightforward, the classification and division of assets can be complex. Though the court and the family law process can handle property division concerns for couples, divorcing couples can also agree to property division through a settlement agreement, which is why it is important for divorcing couples to have proper guidance and a solid understanding of property division during their divorce.
Source: Divorce Magazine, "What is the Difference between Marital and Non-Marital Property?" Amy C. Boohaker, June 22, 2016