Marital Assets Lawyer
Understanding Marital Assets
The division and distribution of property is often one of the most contentious areas of divorce, next to time sharing and child custody. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by complicated financial matters as you sort through the issues in your case. Add the emotional component in, and it’s no wonder people often feel steamrolled into making decisions they’re not fully comfortable with.
The good news is that this does not have to happen to you. An experienced and compassionate Tampa marital assets lawyer will make sure you thoroughly understand this part of your case.
Defining Property in a Divorce
Florida is an equitable distribution state. This means that the court must identify and distribute marital assets, property, and liabilities. In Florida, you start with the presumption that an equal division of the assets, property, and liabilities is equitable.
There are a few limited circumstances where an unequal distribution is warranted as well. Assets, businesses, and property must be identified as marital or non-marital and must be valued. This is always the first step in the process of equitable distribution.
Each piece of property must be classified as either marital or non-marital. In most cases, non-marital property is property one spouse acquired or owned before the marriage.
Also, property gifted or inherited from family other than your spouse can often be found to be non-marital. Some of the most common examples include an inheritance or a house.
Generally, non-marital property stays the sole property of that spouse unless it gets mixed in with marital property, which is also known as “commingling”. Additionally, your spouse can also acquire an interest in your non-marital property if marital money is used to pay for, enhance or improve the property.
As you might expect, marital property includes property acquired during the marriage. It’s important to note that property is still usually considered “marital” even if one spouse earned it during the marriage, or it was put into just one spouse’s name during the course of the marriage.
For example, a parent who stayed at home to raise children is still entitled to a share of the working parent’s retirement money. Similarly, both spouses have an interest in the family home, even if one spouse never worked outside the home.
Converting Non-marital Property to Marital Property
Whether your marriage lasted a few years or several decades, you probably know how easy it is for money to flow in and out of a household. In many cases, non-marital property becomes marital because it gets mixed in with marital assets.
Once the value of the non-marital asset becomes indistinguishable from the value of the marital asset, then it can be very difficult to disentangle them. In some cases, it’s possible to value a non-marital asset, even after it has been commingled with a marital asset.
Where warranted, we work closely with financial experts to identify, value, and assess the tax ramifications of property distribution to protect your rights and interests. Although these issues may sound complicated, with the right legal team by your side you don’t have to be overwhelmed with the process.
Tampa Divorce Lawyer Experienced in the Division of Marital Assets
You have worked hard to build up a lifestyle. If you’re worried about protecting your financial security, Blair H. Chan III PLLC can help. Contact our Tampa marital assets lawyer today for help.
Give us a call today on the numbers given below or simply send us a detailed message via our online contact form, we will tell you more about how property is divided in Florida, and what this means for your divorce.