Commingled Property in a Florida Divorce
Florida is an equitable distribution state when it comes to the division of property in a divorce. This means that all marital property is split equitably, but not necessarily equally, between spouses. All separate property goes back to the spouse that brought that property into the marriage. But how do you split property that was separate and then commingled with marital property during the course of the marriage? The issue of commingled property can be complex, and the decision regarding commingled property can have a significant impact on your Florida divorce case. For more information about this or any other issue in a Florida divorce, call or contact our office today.
Separate property in a marriage is that which a spouse already owned prior to the wedding and brought with them into the marriage. Marital property is all property acquired during the course of the marriage. Commingling occurs when marital funds are mixed with the separate property of a spouse, and if that couple files for divorce the question becomes whether, and how much, of the commingled property should be split as marital property between the couple.
In order for property to be considered commingled, it must be impossible to divide the separate and marital property without pulling the entire thing apart. One common example is when a spouse separately owned a home that the couple moved into after the wedding. Marital funds were then used to pay the mortgage and make improvements on the home. Another example of commingled assets occurs when a couple mixes their money in a financial instrument like a bank account or investment fund.
Determining the Distribution of Commingled Property
Decisions on the division of commingled property in a Florida divorce is often case specific. The judge will look at the property that one spouse claims is commingled. If it can be shown that marital property was mixed with separate property, the court will define it as commingled. The next step is determining whether the commingled asset can be separated back out between the couple. For example, if a couple commingled their separate bank accounts into a joint account, the court may be able to determine through bank records how much each spouse should retain in the divorce.
However, if the determination is that it is impossible to separate the marital from the separate property, the court may decide to equitably divide the asset between the spouses. This is typically accomplished by either selling the commingled property and splitting the money equitably or valuating the commingled asset and using it as part of asset distribution negotiations.
Talk to Our Office Now
If you would like to learn more about commingled assets or filing for divorce in the Tampa Bay area, call or contact the law office of Blair H. Chan, III today. Schedule an initial consultation with an experienced Tampa family attorney about your case now.