The Difference Between Marital and Separate Property in Divorce

During a divorce, the division of marital assets can be difficult, especially if you and your spouse have collected a substantial amount of property in your time together. In Florida, the law requires an equitable division of property, which may or may not be exactly equal. The first step is understanding the differences between marital versus separate property.

Marital property is an asset purchased during the marriage and paid for out of a spouse’s salary. These assets include everything the spouses acquired — as a couple or individually — during the marriage. This may include bank accounts or investments that you and your spouse deposit paychecks into, a house you bought and made payments on or a car you purchased, regardless of who holds the title. Additionally, marital property includes retirement, pensions, benefits and insurance plans. These marital assets and debts get divided as part of the divorce process.

Separate or non-marital property is that which was owned before the marriage or acquired during marriage as a gift or by inheritance. Separate property also includes income from separate property, assets purchased with or exchanged for separate property, and assets and debts the spouses have defined as such in a written agreement. This separate property belongs to one spouse only and is therefore not divided.

When separate property increases in value during the marriage, however, those increases are often considered marital property. In these situations, that property would be divided between the spouses during the divorce process.

If you are going through a divorce in Florida, it’s important to meet with a skilled family law attorney to learn about the property and asset division. Speak with a Tampa divorce attorney with the Law Offices of K. Dean Kantaras right away.

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