Acquiring Separate Property After Marriage
When it comes to the division of property in Florida during a divorce, the court usually divides the property in an equal manner unless it can determine by looking at certain factors that another kind of division is more appropriate. This division applies to marital property only, which usually means property that was acquired after a couple was married. Any property a spouse brought into the marriage is considered separate property.
Despite the general thought that anything a couple acquires after marriage becomes marital property, there are instances in which property acquired during the marriage can be ruled to be separate property, and therefore not subject to division as marital property.
Property that is acquired as a gift to one spouse from another person is treated as separate property when the division of assets is done during a divorce. This is also the case if the gift comes from an inheritance one of the spouses receives that is made specifically to the spouse and not to the couple.
Profits and Income from Separate Property
Generally, any income that is gained from property or assets that are considered separate property is also considered separate property. This is also the case with any property acquired with money gained from the sale of separate property.
If a spouse has received a settlement or judgment in a personal injury case, some of the award may be considered separate property even if the injury happened and the settlement was reached after the couple was married. This is also the case with the proceeds of a workers’ compensation award. A court may have to make a determination on how much of either of these awards qualifies as separate property.
Exclusion by Agreement
A couple can decide to exclude property that would otherwise qualify as marital property and make it separate property by agreement. If a couple is considering making this agreement, it is advisable that each spouse meet with an attorney in order to ensure that their rights are protected, and that they are signing off on changing marital property into separate property in exchange of adequate consideration.
A married couple can change the nature of separate property and convert it into marital property by their actions. For example, if a couple uses marital property to repair and maintain a house that would otherwise qualify as separate property, they may convert this house into marital property. This would also be the case if the house was rented out and the rental income, which would otherwise be separate property, is used for living expenses for the marital couple.
If a couple wants to make sure that their separate property does not become marital property and therefore subject to division in a divorce, there are steps they can take to ensure that they do not commingle the assets. Opening separate bank accounts to keep track of funds and ensuring that the property is not used by both spouses are some ways this can be done. An attorney can explain how you can legally keep this property separate.
Contact Us for Legal Assistance
The division of property in a divorce can be a complicated process, and you may need an experienced attorney to handle this very important aspect of your divorce to avoid getting less than you legally should. Contact an experienced Boca Raton, Florida divorce attorney at Law Offices of Schwartz l White for a consultation.