How Do I Keep My Assets Separate in a Divorce?
Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that during a divorce all the couple’s assets are divided in a fair manner. Division of assets only applies to shared assets (marital property). Some couples own property or maintain accounts separately that are not subject to division in a divorce. If you own assets that you want to protect in your divorce, you should take certain measures.
What types of assets are non-marital?
Many couples enter marriage owning something. The degree to which you and your partner mix your finances is your decision. If you buy a house together or direct both salaries to a joint checking account, these and other similar marital assets belong to both of you.
Assets that are intended for separate use and benefit include:
- An inheritance distributed to you and kept in a separate account
- Property you owned prior to marriage that you kept in your name only
- Cash gift that you received from a family member intended for you only and maintained in a separate account
- Any asset you and your spouse agreed to keep as non-marital property in a pre-marital or post-marital agreement
How can I keep these assets separate?
Maintaining separate assets requires some bookkeeping. The more detailed and precise your records, the more likely your success in keeping your assets separate. Also try to:
- Keep balance sheets of both marital and separate assets
- Keep separate assets in a separate bank account in your name only
- Avoid co-mingling of marital and non-marital assets
None of these methods is foolproof, but it’s one way to demonstrate to the court that your intention was to keep these assets separate.
Distribution of assets can be a very contentious process. A good divorce attorney can help you protect your non-marital assets from distribution and help you keep what is rightfully yours.