Florida divorce pension asset protection law

Divorce Laws in Florida

The court will give particular consideration to how this option might benefit any childrenwho are still in school. Some couples are able to agree on how to divide everything on their own, while others seek the help of attorneys or a mediator to negotiate a settlement.

Taking The Path That's Right For You

Only marital assets and debts are divided when a couple divorces. Marital assets includes everything the spouses acquired, both separately and together, during the marriage. Florida law also says that marital assets include all vested or nonvested benefits, rights or funds either spouse accrues during the marriage, including retirement, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, deferred compensation, and insurance plans and programs.

Property is nonmarital, or separate, if a spouse owned it before marriage or acquired it during marriage as a gift not including gifts from the other spouse , or by inheritance.

Property Issues

Separate property also includes:. If separate property increases in value during the marriage as a result of contributions of marital funds or the efforts of either spouse, then the increases in value are marital property.


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For example, if one spouse owned a business prior to the marriage and it increased in value during the marriage, the original value of the business would remain separate property, but the increase in value would be marital property, and that property would have to be divided between the spouses. A spouse can convert nonmarital property to marital property by changing title from individual to joint ownership, in which case a court would presume that the spouse intended to make a gift of the property to the marriage.


  • Marital and Nonmarital (Separate) Property.
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  • How you hold title can be very important. There is a very strong presumption under Florida law that all real or personal property held by the parties as "tenants by the entireties" is marital property, regardless of whether one spouse or both spouses acquired the property and whether they acquired it before or during the marriage.

    Any spouse claiming that all or a part of such property is separate must present clear and convincing proof, so check your deed before arguing that certain property is separate.

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    A premarital bank account belonging to one spouse can become marital property if the other spouse makes deposits to it; a house owned by one spouse alone can become marital property if both spouses pay the mortgage and other expenses during the marriage. These situations can be very complicated and may require the assistance of an attorney.

    After determining which property is marital property, the couple, or the court, will assign a monetary value to each item. Couples who need help determining values can hire professional appraisers. Some financial assets, such as retirement accounts, can be very difficult to evaluate and may require the assistance of a financial professional, such as a C.

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    Spouses can divide assets by assigning certain items to each spouse, possibly with an equalizing payment if one spouse gets substantially more than the other, or by selling property and dividing the proceeds. Couples who get along fairly well with one another sometimes agree to continue owning property together for some specific purpose. For example, they might agree to keep the family home until children are out of school, or keep an investment property in hopes it will increase in value. The couple must also assign all debt accrued during the marriage, including mortgages, car loans and credit card debts, to one of the spouses.

    The information provided on this site is not legal advice, does not constitute a lawyer referral service, and no attorney-client or confidential relationship is or will be formed by use of the site. The attorney listings on this site are paid attorney advertising.

    In some states, the information on this website may be considered a lawyer referral service. Please reference the Terms of Use and the Supplemental Terms for specific information related to your state. Properly valuing and dividing retirement accounts and pensions requires the involvement of a firm that has experience and skill in this complex arena.

    Dividing Property in a Florida Divorce

    Two of our partners are board certified in marital and family law by The Florida Bar Association, meaning we are uniquely qualified to handle even the most challenging divorce. When you work with our firm, we will conduct a thorough evaluation of all retirement accounts, considering benefits accrued before and during the marriage. Establishing a paper trail for each account is essential to properly characterizing all or a portion of each account as marital or nonmarital property.

    Once this has been established, we will develop a strategy to effectively protect your retirement assets. Although Florida is an equitable distribution state, unequal distribution may be warranted.