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Even If The House Is A Non-Marital Asset, Its Appreciation In Value May Be Subject To Equitable Distribution


Pursuant to Florida’s equitable distribution laws, the Florida family courts are not in the business of nitpicking about who earned which money during the marriage or who incurred which debts.  All assets acquired and income earned during the marriage count as marital property, and unless the parties agree in a marital settlement agreement how they want to divide it, then the court divides the property in a way it deems fair.  Equitable distribution means that the court may or may not divide the marital property equally; it depends on each party’s financial needs.  Separate property, meaning property that each spouse owned before the marriage, plays a role, too.  If your spouse was a lot wealthier than you before you got married, there is a good chance that your spouse will still be wealthier after you get divorced, but the court will ensure that you do not walk away from the marriage destitute.  If you are getting divorced from someone whose income and net worth are much higher than yours, contact a Boca Raton property division lawyer.

Ex-Husband’s Assets Are Valuable, but His Record Keeping Skills Are Lacking

When Pablo and Ibis married, he had a net worth of about $8,000,000 because of his real estate investing business.  Ibis did not own any real estate when the marriage began; her only assets were about $180,000 of personal property.  The parties signed a prenuptial agreement, in which Ibis waived the right to a share of the total value of the real estate properties Pablo owned when the parties married.  She did, however, reserve the right to claim a share of the amount by which the properties appreciated in value during the marriage.  She reasoned that, during the marriage, any amount by which the value of the properties appreciated would be due to the efforts of both spouses.

The parties divorced after nine years of marriage, with three children having been born to the marriage.  Prenuptial agreements are meant to prevent messy divorce battles, but Pablo and Ibis’s prenup did not succeed in ensuring a seamless division of property.  Although there was no question as to the validity or interpretation of the prenuptial agreement, the parties disagreed on the value of Pablo’s real estate properties at the time of the marriage and at the time of the divorce filing, and therefore about their appreciation.  Pablo claimed that the properties had lost value, meaning that there was nothing to award to Ibis.  Meanwhile, Ibis argued that Pablo’s claim of depreciated value was untrustworthy, because his record keeping related to the properties was so incomplete and sloppy.

Reach Out to Our Office Today

A South Florida divorce lawyer can help you if your ex-spouse claims that the property of which you are trying to claim a share is worth less than its actual value.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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