Marital Versus Non-marital Assets

- Gary E. Williams

Under Florida divorce law, marital assets are subject to equitable distribution, while non-marital property is not. In many cases, it is not difficult to distinguish between the two types of assets, but there are instances where the distinction between “mine” and “ours” is harder to resolve.

Marital property includes all income, assets and liabilities acquired by the family unit during the marriage. This includes the income of one or both spouses and real estate, even if the title is only in the name of one spouse. Other types of marital assets include:

  • Stocks
  • Retirement benefits
  • Insurance benefits
  • Social Security income
  • Business interests
  • Equity in a Pre-Marital Home that was created during the marriage.

Non-marital assets are property, possessions or assets that a spouse had before the marriage, including:

  • Inheritance
  • Non-spousal gifts
  • Assets designated as non-marital in a pre- or postnuptial agreement

If the court determines that a non-marital asset was commingled with marital assets, it may consider this asset to be subject to division. For instance, if one spouse puts money inherited from a relative into a joint bank account, the inheritance may lose its status as a non-marital asset. In addition, when a spouse participates in actions that enhance the value of a non-marital asset, this appreciation may be distributed to both parties.

Division of assets can be complex matter requiring litigation. A qualified divorce attorney understands how to perform a thorough investigation of your complete financial situation to insure that all of the assets that have a marital component are included in the equitable distribution scenario.