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Disputes Over Home Furniture In Florida Divorce


Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that there is no set formula for dividing marital property; equitable distribution only means that the court must divide the couple’s property in the fairest possible way.  Most couples are able to agree to a fair division of property and sign a marital settlement agreement (MSA), with or without going to mediation; if the couple cannot agree on how to divide their marital property, a judge must decide this at trial.  Most property division disputes involve real estate property and ownership interest in family businesses and investments, but courts can also rule on the division of personal property if necessary.  Personal property includes all tangible items that are not real estate.  Examples of personal property include artwork, furniture, and jewelry.  If you and your spouse are involved in disputes over furniture or other items of personal property, contact a Boca Raton divorce lawyer.

Is Furniture a Separate Asset or a Marital Asset?

Divorce courts only divide marital assets; your ex-spouse does not have any right to your separate property, although the court accounts for its value in calculating alimony and child support.  Marital assets include all property you and your spouse acquired during the marriage and all income earned by either spouse; it doesn’t matter who earned how much.  Inherited assets and payouts from personal injury lawsuits and similar legal actions are also separate property, unless your spouse can prove that you used them in a way that indicates that you intended for them to be marital assets.  Likewise, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements can designate certain assets as separate when the default option is for them to be marital.

Therefore, furniture that you bought during the marriage is a marital asset.  If you owned the furniture before the marriage and furnished the marital home with it, there is more room for debate.  There is also room for debate if you inherited the furniture during the marriage and used it in the marital home.

How to Resolve Disputes Over Furniture and Other Personal Property

The court is not going to award the dining table to you and the chairs to your ex-spouse.  The court must award the item of furniture to one person, but if the furniture is very valuable, it may order the spouse who keeps the furniture to pay a portion of its value to the other spouse.  You and your spouse might also be able to agree during mediation that, in exchange for one person getting to keep a certain valuable item of furniture, such as the dining table and chairs, then the other spouse gets to keep other pieces of valuable personal property, such as a set of power tools or collection of sports memorabilia.

Contact Schwartz | White About Disputes Over Personal Property in Divorce

A South Florida family law attorney can help you resolve disputes over furniture and other valuable items of personal property.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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