Sarasota Marital & Non-Marital Assets Attorneys
Assets and debts accumulated by either spouse during the marriage are — with certain exceptions — considered to be marital in nature. For spouses going through a divorce, the most important aspect regarding marital assets is the authority of the court to divide the assets or debts between the parties or assign the entirety of the asset or debt to one party. Before you can determine if the equitable distribution of assets and debts is possible in your situation, you must first find out which assets and debts are categorized as marital in nature. The most effective way to accurately identify and categorize assets, property, and debt during a divorce is with the comprehensive legal assistance of attorneys with Tobaygo Law. Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Sarasota family law firm.
How Are Marital Assets Identified In Florida?
Florida Statute § 61.075 discusses the identification of marital assets and provides the courts with cut-off dates for determining which assets are marital and which assets are non-marital. The statute notes that “the date for determining the value of assets and the amount of liabilities identified or classified as marital is the date or dates as the judge determines is just and equitable under the circumstances. Different assets may be valued as of different dates, as, in the judge’s discretion, the circumstances require.”
In a Florida divorce involving significant real property, it seems that the value of the property may dramatically increase or decrease in value during the time of the dissolution. This means that a spouse’s house, which was otherwise not valued by the opposing spouse, increases in value, thus providing the opposing spouse with higher equity in the residence in part due to market appreciation. Contact us to speak with a divorce attorney to determine how Florida marital asset laws pertain to your case.
What Is A Marital Estate?
Another, easier way to understand marital assets and debts is by discussing the concept of the marital estate. In other words, if a spouse brings something into the marriage, whether a piece of jewelry or a retirement account, the asset is generally considered to be non-marital in nature, or not a part of the marital estate. The exception is when spouses invest marital labor during the marriage to improve the value of that asset or property. In a divorce case, one of the first tasks required of any divorce lawyer is to determine the contents of the marital estate or the property of the marriage so as to assist the courts in determining the appropriate division of a mutually owned business and the division of property, among other types of marital assets during the dissolution of marriage process.
How Are Marital Assets Valued?
The legislature has given Florida courts a great amount of leeway when it comes to valuing marital assets during the divorce. The valuation date can range widely based on the number of assets and property which require valuation. This is a significant factor in a litigated divorce, as both parties may each have their own valuation experts to not only provide the value of a business or piece of real property, but also the values across a specific date range.
Arguments for choosing one particular valuation date over another include marital contributions and one party’s dissipation or failure to maintain the asset. The most important factor in determining which assets and debts are marital versus the assets and debts that are non-marital in a Florida divorce is hiring an experienced Sarasota divorce lawyer to help you ensure that the appropriate values are assigned to each involved asset and debt.