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Is The Money You Earn While Your Divorce Case Is Pending Marital Property?


Figuring out what will happen to your finances after you get divorced is enough of a challenge.  Most couples are able to accomplish this during mediation, but only through the help and expertise of their divorce lawyers.  If your divorce is contentious enough that it goes to trial, then the judge might have to make decisions about what happens to the couple’s money and living situations after the divorce that becomes final, but also about what the parties can and cannot do while the divorce case is pending.  Status quo orders, temporary parenting plans, and temporary alimony are all common features in the ugliest divorce cases.  The road to becoming legally single can feel interminable.  The good news is that you gain a certain measure of financial independence from your spouse as soon as one of you files for divorce.  A Boca Raton divorce lawyer can help you navigate the difficult period when you are not quite married but not quite single.

Legally Married but Financially Single

Unless you have a prenuptial agreement that says otherwise, all income earned during the marriage and all assets acquired during the marriage are marital property, and therefore subject to equitable distribution in divorce.  The time period that the law defines as “during the marriage” begins on the wedding day and ends on the day that one spouse files for divorce.

Especially when the couple has a high net worth or when they were dishonest with each other about finances during the marriage, figuring out the most equitable way to divide the marital property can take a long time, with or without going to trial.  The money that you earn while your divorce is pending is your separate property, and the court cannot order you to share it with your spouse.  A Machiavellian would say that, if you think you are about to get a bonus at work, you should file your divorce petition now and not wait until the bonus becomes marital property.

Meanwhile, the court can order you not to sell marital assets while the divorce case is pending; this is called a status quo order.  The court can also order you to pay temporary alimony, which is where you continue to pay your share of the family’s household bills, even though you are no longer living in the marital home.  Likewise, the court can order a temporary parenting plan.  Temporary alimony orders and parenting plans automatically terminate when the divorce becomes final.  The parenting plan that goes into effect when the divorce becomes final may be the same as or different from the temporary one.  Likewise, if the court ordered you to pay temporary alimony, it may or may not order you to continue to pay alimony after the divorce becomes final.

Contact Schwartz | White About Moving On From Your Marriage as Fast as the Law Allows

A South Florida family law attorney can help you navigate issues like temporary alimony, temporary parenting plans, and status quo orders.  Contact Schwartz | White in Boca Raton, Florida about your case.



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