How To Protect Your Assets From Division In Divorce
In Florida, all marital assets are subject to equitable distribution after divorce. This means that all property, real estate, cash and other assets of value that were acquired or increased in value during the marriage are divided up in some manner that is fair. Many divorcing couples enter a marriage with their own assets or inherit during the marriage. These are usually considered separate (or non-marital) assets and are not subject to division.
There are, however, some assets that fall into a gray area and need to be addressed. If you are headed for divorce and have assets you wish to protect from division, take these steps to strengthen the position that these are exclusively yours and should remain that way.
How to keep assets separate
- Open a bank account in your own name — Keep money you have inherited or money you received as a gift intended only for you in this separate account.
- List your separate assets and keep a balance sheet — Listing separate and marital properties separately demonstrates your intent, should you need to prove it in court.
- Do not move separate assets into joint accounts — Avoid co-mingling your separate assets with marital assets.
- Do not gift cash or assets to friends, minors or family members — While this might seem like a good idea, it raises suspicion that you are trying to hide them and they are easily retrievable.
- Document the history of the separate property — Keep a detailed history with dates and times of each transaction related to your separate property.
- If there is something you want to keep, speak up — Many people become so intimidated, angry, frustrated or hurt during divorce that they readily give up things they want or deserve.
These measures are in no way a guarantee that your separate assets are protected from division in divorce, but it is your way of demonstrating to the court that your intention was to keep certain assets separate. If you have a prenuptial agreement and pay some attention to maintaining the assets as separate, you are more likely to keep what is yours.
Sandra Bonfiglio, PA is a skilled family law attorney who can help you protect your assets from division and lead you to a fair and equitable divorce agreement. We serve Fort Lauderdale and the Broward County area.