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How do Florida’s property division laws work when we divorce?

| Apr 9, 2020 | Property Division |

When a divorce occurs, one of the first concerns that spouses have is what’s going to happen with their assets that they both brought into and accumulated during the marriage. If you lived in one of the few community property states such as Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington or Wisconsin, then these assets would likely be deemed as community property. Fortunately, that’s not generally the case in Florida though.

Most property and assets acquired during the marriage are generally considered as either marital or community property regardless of the jurisdiction where they reside. A prenuptial agreement can result in the property being classified differently from what would typically be called for according to state law. Other assets are considered as separate property no matter what jurisdiction someone lives in.

Any property that a spouse acquired before the marriage is considered as their separate property. Any assets that these husbands or wives inherit or receive as a gift or personal injury settlement during the marriage are generally also considered as separate property. The only exception to this rule is any compensation for lost wages. This is generally considered as marital property.

If a spouse acquires any assets in exchange for separate property, then those proceeds generally remain the sole property of the original owner.

There is a difference between prenuptial and postnuptial agreements. If either one of these is in effect, then it may impact how property division is handled by spouses.

Prenuptial agreements occur before the marriage, and postnuptial agreements occur after one is already married. In many states, courts may have more scrutiny of postnuptial agreements, and some may not recognize them at all. This is because of the concerns of spouses having a fiduciary duty not to take advantage of the other. In a prenuptial agreement, such a duty is not in effect.

If you are in the process of getting divorced here in Fort Myers, then your concerns about what’s going to happen when your marital assets get split up are very real. An attorney with experience in dealing with such disputes may be able to help. Your lawyer can advise you of both your rights and options before your Florida divorce is finalized and you have no other choice but to accept the decisions that have been made.

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