When a couple gets divorced in Florida, state law requires that their property be distributed equitably. In other words, their property must be fairly (but not necessarily evenly) divided between the spouses. Some couples are able to divide their property on their own, or with the help of a mediator, while others ask the court to equitably divide their property for them. When a Florida court makes this determination, the presiding judge will only distribute the couple’s marital assets and debts as, Florida divorce law states that non-marital property is to remain in the possession of the spouse who owned it before marriage or acquired it during the marriage as a gift or via inheritance. However, there is an important exception to this rule that applies when a gift was given from one spouse to the other while they were married.
How Gifts Are Distributed During a Florida Divorce
Under Florida’s divorce laws, gifts are generally considered to be non-marital property and remain with the spouse that they were gifted to in the event that the spouse later gets divorced, provided that the spouse did not commingle the gift with marital assets. This general rule applies to gifts received both before and during marriage. For example, the following gifts would be considered non-marital property in Florida and would remain in your possession even if you subsequently get divorced in Florida:
- The ring that your grandmother left you in her will (regardless of whether or not you were married when she passed away);
- The watch your parents gave you for your 30th birthday (regardless of whether or not you were married at the time); and
- The puppy that your best friend randomly gave you (regardless of whether or not you were married when you received the puppy).
However, it is critical to note that any gift that your spouse gave you during your marriage is different. In Florida, any gift given from one spouse to the other during their marriage is considered to be marital property and is subject to being divided equitably during a divorce. This means that any gift that your spouse gave you during your marriage (think car, bank account, boat, jewelry, etc.) is considered to be marital property in Florida and will be divided equitably upon your divorce, even if there is documentation indicating that you are the sole owner or account holder of the property. Even if this interspousal gift was given as an anniversary or birthday gift, it is still considered marital property.
Does My Engagement Ring Count As a Premarital Gift?
In Florida, engagement rings and wedding rings that are gifted prior to marriage are often considered to be “conditional gifts” in the eyes of the law. In other words, these gifts are given along with the attached condition that the receiving individual will marry the individual who gave them the ring(s). Therefore, courts in Florida often consider the gift to be revocable if the recipient does not fulfill the attached condition (i.e. getting married). However, if an engagement ring or a wedding ring is given in contemplation of marriage, and the couple does in fact get legally married, then the condition attached to the gift has been fulfilled and upon a subsequent divorce the ring(s) are generally treated as premarital gifts and remain with the spouse that they were gifted to.
Do You Need Legal Advice?
Here at the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A., we handle a wide variety of family law issues and have extensive experience handling everything from divorces to paternity matters. If you have a family law matter in Florida that you would like help resolving we would be happy to assist you. Contact our Boca Raton office today at (561) 763-7622 to schedule a confidential consultation.