Marital property What is it?

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Many clients approach me with questions regarding “Marital Property”  Basically the simple rule of thumb is that things you own the day before your wedding are “non-marital” and not subject to division and those from the wedding day forward are “marital” and subject to division.  Naturally the law loves exceptions to the rules so if, for example, you had a non-marital assets such as a house that was yours before the marriage but after you got married you put your spouses name on the deed………..that can be considered as marital property now and subject to division.  Generally speaking, if you owned property prior to the marriage and you kept it separate and in your own name, you can consider that property “non-marital”.   As if determining what is marital property and what is separate property is not difficult enough, sometimes spouses complicate the process because they have commingled – that is, combined – marital assets with non-marital assets. This frequently occurs when one of the spouses has an individual banking account in their name only before the marriage but, after marriage, they add their spouse to the account and allow their spouse access to the account. Or they pay marital debts and expenses (groceries, bills, etc.) from the account. If the parties are able to agree what portion of the asset is marital and what portion is separate, the court will likely adopt that agreement. But what if the parties cannot agree? In such a situation, the court may need to step in and determine what part, if any, of the asset is separate property.  Before you make big decisions like that you should always consult an attorney to know what your rights are.  The good news is that in an uncontested divorce in Florida the parties can pretty much mutually agree on how their property will be divided.  The courts rarely step in to change what parties agree to.