What is Marital Property?

As a family law attorney in Tallahassee, Florida, too often I hear: “the car is mine because my name is on the title,” or “her name isn’t on this bank account, so it belongs to me.” The most common misconception about divorce is that each spouse owns the assets titled in their own name. While some assets or debts may be non-marital, this isn’t typically determined by whose name is on the asset or debt.  

Commonly Considered Marital

Separating your bank accounts, credit cards, vehicles, and real estate does not turn those into non-marital assets or debts. Absent a few exceptions, the following could be marital, which means they will be valued and distributed between spouses by the court: 

  • Assets bought by either spouse during the marriage (no matter how titled)
  • Credit card debt, lines of credit, student loans, and personal loans incurred by either spouse
  • Income earned by either spouse during the marriage, no matter the source or how it was spent
  • Bank accounts in which earned income was deposited
  • Contributions made to pre-marital investment and retirement accounts
  • Pre-marital financial accounts in which marital funds are deposited, such as earned income 
  • Pre-marital real estate improved by either spouse during the marriage
  • Pre-marital real estate paid down by either spouse during the marriage
  • Growth or increased value of a pre-marital business

The law is very nuanced when determining what is marital vs. non-marital. There are a few ways to protect and separate your assets:

Separate your funds before marriage

Once you add marital money to the accounts holding pre-marital money, the entire account becomes marital property and can be divided equally between you and your spouse. For example, if you deposit $200 from each paycheck into the pre-marital account, you have made the entire account marital. 

Separate your real estate before marriage 

You can leave your real estate holdings solely in your name; however, if you use money from a joint account to pay the mortgage or complete any significant renovations, part or all of the property may become marital.

Keep retirement account statements from before marriage 

If you opened a retirement account before your wedding and wish to keep that separate from your marital assets, you’ll need to prove that your contributions didn’t come from a joint account.

Create a post-marital agreement

A post-marital or post-nuptial agreement is one of the best options to protect your assets from being considered marital property. For more information about marital contracts, read our blog post Understanding Pre and Post-Nuptial Agreements in Florida. 

For more information on marital funds in divorce, here’s an article from the Florida Bar on the subject.

Need to draft a pre- or post-marital agreement?  Contact our office at (850) 694-1411 to schedule your initial consultation.

Keep on Reading:

Unraveling Common Misconceptions About Alimony and Spousal Support

Alimony, also known as spousal support, is a topic that often stirs emotions and raises questions during...

Social Media and Divorce: Navigating the Digital Minefield

In our increasingly interconnected world, the impact of social media on various aspects...

Everything you need to know about prenuptial agreements in Florida

A prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement or "prenup," is a legally binding contract entered into by a couple

Ready to Talk?

**Communication with the firm does not establish representation.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Top Litigation Attorney in Tallahassee
Community Choice Award 2023 for Tallahassee
phone link