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Unique Items Of Separate Property


Florida is an equitable distribution state when it comes to dividing property in a divorce. This means that all property owned separately prior to the marriage goes back to that spouse, and anything acquired during the course of the marriage is split equitably between spouses. However, some unique items are considered separate property even if obtained during the marriage, and an experienced Tampa divorce attorney can help sort out what is yours and what is “ours.” Call or contact the law office of Blair H. Chan, III today to schedule a consultation of your case.


One unique item of separate property is an inheritance. If an inheritance is left to one spouse during the course of a marriage, it may be considered separate property in a subsequent divorce. That also applies to any income generated by an inheritance that is left to one spouse. For example, if one spouse was left a vacation home and rents it out any income derived could be considered separate property.

However, in order to qualify as separate property, the inheritance must be kept separate from the marital property. If the inheritance comes in the form of cash or securities, they must be held in a separate account from marital funds. If the inheritance is real estate, martial funds must not be used to maintain or pay taxes on the property. When marital funds are mixed with an inheritance, the inheritance becomes commingled property and thus subject to equitable distribution in a Florida divorce. 


A similar situation arises when a gift is made to one spouse during the course of the marriage. Gifts are also considered separate property so long as they are not commingled with marital property. If a gift is an item of personal property or real estate it reverts to the spouse that the item was gifted to, and the same applies to cash or other income so long as it is kept in separate accounts. However, similarly to an inheritance, if a gift is made to the couple it must be treated as marital property in a divorce. 


The final unique item that may be considered separate property is a pet. Unfortunately, even though pets are often considered members of the family they are treated like personal property in a Florida divorce. This means that if one spouse came into the marriage with a pet they get to keep it in a divorce, even if the other spouse was the main caretaker of the pet during the marriage. Pets acquired during the marriage are considered marital property, and it must be negotiated who keeps the pet in the divorce. 

Talk to Our Office Now 

If you have questions about what is considered separate and marital property in your marriage, let the experienced Florida divorce lawyers at the law office of Blair H. Chan, III in Tampa provide the top tier legal advice that you need. Call or contact our office today to learn more.

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