Investment accounts, such as 401(k) retirement accounts and high-yield savings accounts, can be a great place to store your money and allow it to grow. They are among the most popular ways to save for retirement. Because of this, they also happen to be the most sought after assets in a Florida divorce.
If you are going through a divorce, you may be uncertain about the funds within these accounts. Will you have to split your retirement savings with your spouse? The answer is more complicated than you may anticipate. Keep reading to find out more about what will happen to your accounts in a divorce, or contact a knowledgeable Boca Raton asset division attorney.
What Is Equitable Distribution?
Florida is among the 41 states that define themselves as equitable distribution states. In these jurisdictions, it is up to the court to decide on a fair division of parties’ assets. Regardless of whether the money was invested before or after marriage, the assets may be up for grabs.
What the court considers an equitable distribution will depend on the unique circumstances of your marriage. The court begins with a premise of an equal (50-50) division of the assets acquired during the marriage. But, the 50-50 division is not automatic. The court will consider the length of your marriage as well as each individual’s contributions and needs. The court can also consider one parties’ dissipation of assets during the marriage. This may lead to distributions which are not 50-50 splits. You may see a 40-60 split or an even more uneven split.
Determining the Nature of the Assets
Before the courts can decide on how to divide any assets, they need to determine the nature of each. An asset may be classified as a marital asset or a separate asset. Those assets acquired as an inheritance or gift are separate assets and immune to division (so long as they have not been co-mingled with marital assets or re-titled into the joint names of the parties). Additionally, any assets owned before the marriage will be treated as a separate asset (again, so long as they have not been co-mingled with marital assets or re-titled into the joint names of the parties). Any marital assets will be subject to division according to what the court determines is fair.
Determining the nature of the assets can be difficult. In many cases, finances become commingled. For example, one spouse may open an account with a certain amount of money in it, making the original amount separate property. Any funds the other spouse adds could be considered marital property. Additionally, any interest or returns earned on an account due to marital efforts or labor may be considered marital property.
Protect Large Assets
In some divorces, there is a large amount of money at stake. It may be necessary to prevent a spouse from divesting. You may wish to freeze any accounts so neither party can access the funds. This requires approval from the judge.
Contact an Experienced Divorce Attorney
Divorces can be messy, especially if large amounts of money are involved. Not all your accounts will be subject to division over the course of your divorce. It will depend on whether the accounts are marital or separate assets. From there, the judge will decide on the most equitable division of each asset, depending on the unique circumstances of your marriage. You should seek the help of an experienced Boca Raton divorce attorney to ensure the most equitable division. Contact the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg, P.A., today to learn more.