By: Anna E. Meddin, Esquire
In a Florida dissolution of marriage, the Courts will require equitable distribution of marital property while non-marital property, whether it is an asset or debt, generally stays with the individual. A common issue is about real property acquired prior to marriage or inherited properties.
Question: I just inherited a house from my uncle and I want to sell it. Are the proceeds of the sale marital?
Any property received by the spouse by inheritance, even if it is during the marriage, remains non-marital unless the property is gifted or titled to the other spouse, so you do not have to share the proceeds of the sale with your Wife. However, you should keep the money in a separate account, not your joint account.
Question: I bought this house before we got married but since then, we built an addition and remodeled the kitchen. Is my house non-marital?
Generally, a house purchased prior to marriage is non-marital. However, the court will consider several factors in determining whether some value is marital. For example, if the value of the house increased due to remodeling the kitchen and building an addition, the increased value would be marital property.
The property itself can become non-marital if both spouses contributed to the mortgage and other expenses during the marriage because if that was the case, the house can become marital property.
Remember, there is a very strong presumption under Florida law that all real property is held by the parties as “tenants by the entireties” regardless of whether one spouse acquired the property and whether it was acquired before or during the marriage.
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