Memorandum: Separation of Property

Many people do not understand how to separate property during a marriage. People think because their name is the only name on something that should not be part of the equitable distribution plan in a divorce. The state of Florida sees a married couple as 1 person. Therefore, if you have acquired something during the marriage that is only in your name, it is still subject to equitable distribution. In other words, it is half hers.

For example, let's say you purchased a car completely solely in your name and completely paid for it out of money that you get from your job that you put into a separate account. Well, let's look at it. As stated before, a married couple is deemed to be 1 person in the state of Florida. Therefore, it wasn't just you working at your job, it was your spouse as well. It is not just your name on the car, it is your spouse's and finally it wasn't just your money from your job that paid for the car, your spouse also did it. The same goes the other way around, obviously, too. You are doing whatever your spouse is doing during the day. 

The biggest time this issue comes up is with retirement. People believe that because they are the ones that under retirement, whether it be military, police, pension, or regular private industry that they should be the only one entitled to the retirement. Unfortunately, the state of Florida does not see it that way. Yes, you are the one earning the retirement, you are the one in the foxhole so to speak, but because you are married and deemed to be 1 single person, the state of Florida sees your spouse also in that foxhole. Therefore, any retirement you earn during the marriage is marital. 

Obviously this entire blog assumes that there was no premarital agreement. A premarital agreement can nullify all this. Basically, everything is marital and subject to a 50/50 split that was acquired from the point of marriage to the point of filing the petition for divorce. There are absolutely some exceptions, this is merely a presumption. 

Many people believe that it is the divorce that stops marital ownership but that is not true. A lot of people also believe that it is separation when the marital assets stop. That is also not true. You can you be separated for 5 years, that is irrelevant it is when the petition for divorce is filed with the Clerk's Office.  As soon as that petition is filed the state of Florida no longer sees you as 1 person and anything acquired from that point on is non marital. 

If you are considering divorce and about to buy something, it is very important to file the petition first and then purchase whatever you need to purchase.  Kenny Leigh and Associates is the law firm that practices family law exclusively for men throughout the state of Florida.

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