Under Florida law, separate property is termed “nonmarital assets and liabilities”. These are property and liabilities that an individual may keep as their own, or may be responsible to pay on their own, when they leave their marriage through divorce. The identification of nonmarital assets and liabilities is important to ensure that property is equitably divided between the divorcing spouses.
Examples of separate property and liabilities
There are different ways that a person may acquire and retain separate property and liabilities before and during their marriage. Those ways include, but are not limited to:
- Property and liabilities owned before marriage;
- Property acquired by gift, inheritance, or bequest that were not also given to the spouse;
- Income derived from separate property that was not converted to marital property;
- Property and liabilities identified as separate in a marital agreement; and
- Liabilities based on the forgery of one spouse’s signature by the other.
It is important to recognize that separate property and liabilities may become marital if it is used for marital purposes or otherwise converted to marital property.
Identifying the property classification of property
Depending on the financial state of an individual, their claim to separate property may be valuable. It may be in their interest to properly identify and value their separate property to ensure that it is not included in the pot of marital assets subject to distribution during the divorce process. Any individual who has concerns about how their property will be identified and the protection of their separate property has options. They can choose to work with dedicated family law attorneys who understand Florida property laws and how divorce can impact ownership.