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How non-marital property can become marital property

| May 5, 2021 | Divorce |

When people in Florida go through a divorce they need to go through the process of dividing the life that they shared together during the marriage into two separate lives. This is not an easy task and can be very emotional. The couple may have been married for many years as well. Throughout those years the couple may have purchased and acquired a number of assets, grown bank accounts, retirement accounts and other types of accounts.

All of the assets that were acquired and purchased during the marriage are generally deemed marital property and needs to be divided between the parties. There are a couple of exceptions to this such as gifts to one spouse and inheritances received by one spouse during the marriage which are generally considered separate property. This property will remain with the spouse that received the gift or inheritance after the divorce. Each spouse also may have owned assets and property before the marriage as well. This property is considered separate as well.

When separate property is co-mingled with martial property

There are times when the property a spouse owned prior to the marriage or when gifts or inheritances are combined with marital assets. This is known as co-mingling. It could be that one spouse owned a house prior to the marriage and both lived in the house during the marriage, had a retirement account before the marriage and continued to contribute to it during the marriage. People may also use a gift or inheritances to purchase items or fix things in a house.

When this occurs there are different ways to determine whether the separate property remains separate or becomes marital and is divided between the parties. One is that once it is co-mingled it becomes marital property. Another theory is that if the spouse can trace the separate property through the marital property, it would remain separate. The last is that the court will determine the intent of the parties as to the nature of the property.

Property division in a divorce in Florida can be complicated especially when separate property is co-mingled with marital property and experienced attorneys may be able to guide one through the process.