Protecting Your Non-marital Property and Assets
Divorce is rarely an easy process for couples. Even for those splitting up amicably, frustration can sometimes emerge when dealing with sensitive issues such as child custody or property and asset division.
Florida abides by the principle of equitable distribution, meaning that any and all property and other assets acquired during the marriage is divided equally, unless there’s justification for an unequal distribution based on various factors, such as contributions to the marriage, the economic circumstances of the parties, etc.
However, nothing is black and white. Many people do not realize that if they commingle their own assets, those very assets can turn into marital assets (to be distributed equally). And this not only applies to property and assets, but debts incurred during the marriage by one individual as well.
If you and your spouse are separated and/or otherwise heading for divorce, there are steps you can take to help ensure that any assets you deem to be separate, non-marital property—and belonging to you—stay that way; steps such as:
Personal Bank Accounts in a Divorce
Any bank accounts that have opened in your name only and purposely kept separate from joined checking accounts—for example, money that was inherited—will be easier to keep as non-marital property.
Home and Property Improvements in a Divorce
If you owned property prior to your marriage—or even inherited or otherwise purchased property during your marriage—demonstrate your intent to keep that property separate as your own non-marital property by ensuring that you manage it separately and that joint funds do not go into paying for the mortgage or into home improvements. Keep a very detailed log of any and all transactions related to this separate property so that you can document that it has remained non-marital property.
Protect your Businesses in a Divorce
A prenuptial agreement can help define any businesses you own to be a separate asset, but when it comes to paying taxes and business income, you will want to ensure that you consult with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your business remains non-marital property.
A postnuptial agreement can also help define and divide property and assets between you and your spouse, or soon-to-be former spouse. The difference between a prenuptial agreement and a postnuptial agreement is that a postnuptial agreement is entered into after a couple has been legally married. Florida courts impose an additional condition upon parties seeking to enter into a postnuptial agreement: full financial disclosure.
Consult With an Experienced Florida Divorce Attorney
In fact, consulting with an experienced attorney is wise at all stages of marriage: before, during, and after. Your attorney can help you draft a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, which lay out what properties and assets will remain separate during marriage, and also help you ensure that you are on the right track in how you are managing your assets in order to keep them as separate property.
If you or someone you know is preparing to get married or going through a separation or divorce, contact the family law attorneys at HD Law Partners today in Tampa or Sarasota. Our experienced divorce and property distribution attorneys provide the legal representation you need in these cases, ensuring that you remain protected, regardless of your particular circumstances. Get in touch and let us help you.