One of the most significant issues in any Florida divorce is the distribution of property. All property brought to the marriage by each spouse is considered separate property, while everything received during the marriage is called marital property (unless it was received during the marriage by way of gift or inheritance to one spouse). However, there is another category of property known as commingled property, which are items that were separate but have commingled with marital assets during the marriage. The determination of commingled property can substantially impact your overall divorce settlement, which is why you need an experienced divorce attorney by your side. Call or contact the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg in Boca Raton today to learn more.
Florida is an Equitable Distribution State
As an equitable distribution state, Florida requires that in a divorce all marital and commingled property be split equitably, but not necessarily equally. All separate property is retained by the spouse that brought that property into the marriage. Issues such as income, infidelity, substantial debts, and other issues may result in one spouse receiving a larger portion of the marital estate than the other. As such, it is critically important to identify all property that used to be separate but is now commingled in the marital estate as it may drastically impact the overall settlement for each spouse in the divorce.
How Does Separate Property Become Commingled?
Commingling occurs when one spouse’s separate property is mixed with the couple’s marital property during the marriage. This typically occurs when marital funds are used to improve, maintain, contribute, or pay off a separate property asset. The most common example of this type of commingling is using marital assets to pay off or improve a house that one spouse owned prior to the marriage that the couple now uses as their primary residence. Commingling can also occur when separate and marital assets of the same nature are mixed together, such as combining a separate bank account with the marital account.
How to Avoid Commingling Property
There are a couple of different ways that a spouse can avoid commingled property. The first option is to keep all separate property completely separate. Maintain separate accounts, do not deposit marital monies into those separate accounts, and do not use marital funds on separate assets. Another option is the use of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that specifically delineates property interests for each spouse, including all separate property of each. Finally, if certain assets like bank accounts become commingled, the use of forensic accountants and other experts may be able to trace the separate property and remove it from the division of property in a divorce. However, this often comes at an extra expense to the spouse trying to retain their property, but an experienced divorce attorney can go over all your options.
Call or Contact Our Office Now
If you have concerns about commingled property in your Florida divorce or would like to speak with a knowledgeable Boca Raton divorce attorney about any other issues in your case, contact the Law Offices of David L. Hirschberg today to schedule a consultation of your case now.