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01/10/2014
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Marital v Non-Marital Assets in Divorce

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Family in need of attorney

The Gainesville Family Law Attorneys of the Law Office of Alba & Yochim P.A. discuss Marital v Non-Marital assets in Divorce. In the state of Florida, a non-marital asset is something that was either obtained prior to the marriage or was obtained during the marriage with non-marital funds. Non-marital assets are generally less common than marital assets – at least for couples that have been together for a number of years.

If a married couple decides to split up, then both parties will be able to keep whichever non-marital assets they brought into the relationship or obtained during the marriage itself. A divorce lawyer should always be consulted when trying to determine which assets are marital and which are non-marital.

The equitable distribution of property only applies to marital assets, which means that non-marital assets can be completely protected in the event of a divorce. Although most financial windfalls, real estate acquisitions, and monetary earnings that come in during the course of a marriage are counted as marital assets, there can be cases where those specific types of earnings can be classified as non-marital assets instead. Any physical properties that are purchased from non-marital accounts – with money earned or won before a marriage was finalized – are generally counted as non-marital assets.

Take for example a man who had $5,000 in a savings account before getting married. If the man drained that account and used the money to buy a motorcycle one month after getting married, then that motorcycle would count as a non-marital asset, which he would be able to keep 100% of should his relationship end in divorce. Even though the motorcycle was technically obtained during the marriage, it counts as a non-marital asset because it was purchased with non-marital funds.

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Also, a gift that was clearly intended for one particular spouse is non-marital. One example of this would be a $10,000 cash birthday gift that was clearly labeled as a gift to one person only. As long as the recipient puts the gift in an account in his or her name only, that money should remain that person’s alone – even in a divorce.

This type of issue arises most commonly when it comes to the things that people inherit. If a parent’s will explicitly states that a financial gift is intended for his or her grown child but not the child’s spouse, then that grown child can keep the money without having to divide it in the event of a divorce later in life. Additionally, inheritance gifts that one spouse received before getting married will generally remain his or hers alone – unless the person put that money into a joint account. If the money goes into a joint bank account, then it becomes a marital property that must be equitably distributed in the event of a divorce.