An Aventura News reader enquires whether or not he or she will get any property if they get divorced. If assets were acquired during the marriage the answer is yes. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean that assets will be equally divided but most of the cases interpreting the statute start with the presumption that the marital assets will be divided equally. But what is a marital asset?
Marital assets are assets acquired during the marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by them. marital assets could be real estate, automobiles, savings accounts, checking accounts, investments, pension plans, and other similar assets all of which are subject to equitable distribution.
What if the asset was acquired during the marriage but only titled in the name of one spouse? For example, what if the condominium acquired during the marriage is titled only in the husband’s name? Upon divorce would the wife get anything? The answer is yes. Assets acquired during the marriage will be equitably divided irrespective of how the asset is titled.
A marital asset is also the enhancement in value and appreciation of non-marital assets resulting either from the efforts of either party during the marriage or from the contribution to or expenditure thereon of marital funds or other forms of marital assets, or both.
Interspousal gifts during the marriage are considered marital assets; for example, if the husband gave a ten carat diamond ring worth $100,000 to the wife during the marriage that ring is subject to equitable distribution. Although the wife may keep the ring upon divorce but she would owe her husband $50,000.
All vested and nonvested benefits, rights, and funds, acquired during the marriage in retirement, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, deferred compensation and insurance plans are all marital assets subject to equitable distribution.
Family law cases are truly unique to the individuals involved in the case. It is always best to retain a Florida family law lawyer when discussing, litigating, negotiating or mediating the resolution of the distribution of marital assets.
Stephen Butter is a local attorney who has practiced Florida family law for fifty years. He has written three books, two of which are No Fault Divorce in Florida and Legal Rights of Women in Florida. He may be contacted at 305-333-7159.