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What counts as marital property in Florida?

When a couple in Florida chooses to end a marriage, there are many issues that need to be resolved. One that is often in dispute is determining what is marital property and what is non-marital property. The concern over this is not limited to couples that have significant assets. Couples of any financial circumstance should be aware of how state law classifies marital property as well as what the spouses are liable for even after the marriage has concluded.

Marital assets and liabilities include assets that were acquired and liabilities that accumulated while the couple was married. This is true whether they were accrued individually or by both. For example, if one spouse was not involved in a large purchase, he or she will remain responsible for it, since it was obtained while the couple was married. If there are non-marital assets that were acquired before the marriage but rose in value from the efforts of either of the spouses while they were married or through contribution to or expenditure of marital funds, assets or both, then this is marital property.

Gifts that were given from one spouse to the other while they were married are marital property. If there were benefits, rights and funds that accumulated while the couple was married and it went into a retirement account, pension, profit-sharing agreement, deferred compensation, annuity, or insurance plan, these are marital property.

Real property held as tenants whether it was acquired before the marriage or during it will be a marital asset. If there is a claim disputing this, the party who is protesting will have the burden of proof. Personal property that was titled to both whether it was acquired during or prior to the marriage will be marital property. This holds the same burden of proof as real property. If there is a dispute over a gift, the burden of proof will be clear and convincing evidence.

When property is obtained during the marriage, or when is obtained by a spouse prior to the marriage and subsequently increased in value during the course of the marriage, it is essential to have an understanding as to how the state views these matters. A lawyer can help clients understand property division, and can protect their client's interests.

Source: leg.state.fl.us, "61.075 Equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities -- 6(a)1.," accessed on May 30, 2017

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