What is Commingled Property in a Florida Divorce?
Property division in any Orlando divorce can be contentious and complicated, particularly when there are assets with high market values or assets that are difficult to value properly. One of the more complicated issues in a Florida divorce when it comes to the distribution of marital property is commingled property. What is commingled property, and how can it complicate your divorce case? To understand what it means for property to be commingled, it is necessary to learn more about how property is classified for purposes of a divorce, and how it is distributed according to Florida law.
Understanding How Property is Classified Under Florida Law
Under Florida law, only marital property is divided in a divorce, and it is divided according to a theory of equitable distribution. This includes both assets and liabilities (i.e., debts) from the marriage. All nonmarital property, or separate property, is not subject to division. Typically, all property acquired after the date of the marriage and prior to the date of separation will be classified as marital property, while most property acquired prior to the date of the marriage will be classified as nonmarital property. There are also some types of property acquired by one of the spouses during the marriage that will be classified as nonmarital property, and thus not subject to division.
The following are examples of nonmarital assets and liabilities according to the Florida Statutes:
- Assets or debts acquired by either party prior to the marriage;
- Assets or debts acquired by either party after the marriage in exchange for nonmarital property;
- Assets acquired separately by one of the parties during the marriage as an interspousal gift or an individual give made only to one of the spouses by a third party
- Assets acquired separately by one of the parties during the marriage through an inheritance;
- Income obtained by one of the parties during the marriage from a nonmarital asset;
- Assets or debts expressly excluded from classification as marital property through a valid premarital agreement; and/or
- Liabilities incurred by one of the spouses through the forgery or unauthorized signature of the other spouse.
What is Commingled Property?
Commingled property is property that does not neatly fit into the category of marital property or nonmarital property. In other words, it is nonmarital property that is mixed with marital property. There are numerous ways in which property may become commingled. Some common examples include the following:
- One of the spouses uses income acquired prior to the marriage to pay for a marital asset, such as the down payment on a marital home;
- Spouses use marital assets to pay down a debt that one of the spouses acquired prior to the marriage;
- Spouses begin sharing a bank account that initially included only the separate assets of one of the spouses; or
- Spouses use nonmarital assets belonging to one of the spouses to invest in a business that the spouses open together during the marriage.
Typically the court will attempt to identify the portion of marital and nonmarital property within commingled property, but this process can get extremely complicated.
Contact a Divorce Lawyer in Orlando
If you believe your divorce will involve identifying and classifying commingled property, you should speak with an Orlando property division attorney as soon as you can. Contact Anderson & Ferrin for more information.