Separate Property in a Florida Divorce
One of the most important distinctions when distributing property in a Florida divorce is determining what property is separate and what is marital. The determination of marital and separate property can have a massive impact on your overall divorce settlement, and having an experienced Florida divorce attorney by your side can help ensure that your interests are protected during this process. To learn more from a seasoned professional, call or contact the law office of Blair H. Chan, III in Tampa Bay today for an initial consultation.
What is Separate Property?
Separate property, also known as nonmarital property, refers to all property that will revert back to a spouse in a divorce. Separate property is not subject to the distribution of property in a Florida divorce. Only marital property must be split between spouses. However, separate property refers to both separate assets and debts that one spouse may retain following a divorce.
Under Florida law, many things may be termed as separate assets in a divorce including items that were obtained after the wedding. The first category of separate assets is all items acquired prior to the marriage. This can include a car, clothing, jewelry, collectibles, a pet, and other items that one spouse acquired before the marriage. The second category of separate assets is any gift or inheritance acquired by one spouse before or during the marriage. If the gift or inheritance is specifically directed to only one spouse, it will be considered a separate asset.
The third category of separate assets is any income derived from another separate asset. The most common example of this is when one spouse purchases a home prior to the marriage and then rents the property during the marriage. The rental income will be considered separate assets. The fourth and final category of separate assets are any items that are excluded by agreement. This includes all items that are specifically excluded from marital property distribution in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
In addition to retaining separate assets in a divorce, one spouse may also be required to retain separate, nonmarital debts and other liabilities. One of the most significant separate debts for couples today is student loan debt. Student loans that were taken out by one spouse prior to the marriage will remain with that spouse in a divorce. The same applies to other types of debt acquired before the wedding, such as credit card debt or gambling debts. Florida courts also consider any liabilities that were incurred during the marriage because one spouse forged or otherwise made an unauthorized signature of the other spouse as a separate debt that the forging spouse must retain in a divorce.
Talk to The Office Today
If you would like to learn more about what property may be considered separate and marital in your Florida divorce case, call or contact the office of Blair H. Chan, III to speak with a Tampa divorce attorney today for an initial consultation of your case.