While we strive to protect financial resources during divorce, our protective instinct intensifies when it comes to personal assets - - particularly collections we have cultivated over the years. Learn what is yours that can become theirs during a divorce and what you can do about it.
What types of assets will be divided up during divorce?
Florida is an equitable distribution jurisdiction. This means the courts start with a presumption of a 50/50 split, and then apply a number of rules in an attempt to make the division.
All assets are separated into two categories:
- Marital property.This concept includes all assets acquired during the marriage (regardless of whose name it is titled or who purchased it) and gifts given from one spouse to the other. These assets will be divided up during divorce and
- Non-marital property. These concepts include assets acquired prior to marriage or by gift from people other than your spouse or through inheritance. These assets will remain with the spouse who owns them (as long as no marital money or effort was invested into the property to improve its value).
What about collections (like wine, cars, stamps or antiques)? Are they considered marital assets?
Even if a collection is the passion of only one of the spouses, items acquired during the marriage to add to the collection are joint assets.
What happens if one spouse uses money from their paycheck to purchase an asset that they put in their name only?
If that purchase occurred during the marriage, the asset will be subject to division, regardless of whose name in which it is titled.
What can I do to protect personal assets and collections?
One solution for those hoping to protect certain assets, such as collections (owned before the marriage), is a Domestic Asset Protection Trust (DAPT). A DAPT is an irrevocable trust in which the trust creator can be a discretionary beneficiary and the trust assets are still protected from the creator’s/beneficiary’s creditors (or a divorcing spouse). Although Florida does not specifically recognize DAPT, other asset protection documents can be used which may have the same result.
Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements can also effectively exclude certain assets from division during a divorce.
If you have a collection of assets that you feel personally attached to, it is important to be proactive about protecting your personal assets. Consult with a divorce attorney to find out how you can ensure your collection will always remain your individual property.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that divorce is an extremely sensitive and important issue. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss your pending or anticipated divorce or, or equitable division issues in your current divorce, then please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. online or call 561-478-0312.