Posted by Nydia Streets of Streets Law in Divorce 

Most of the focus in equitable distribution in a Miami divorce is usually on shared, marital assets and debts to be divided between spouses. But what about non-marital assets and debts in Florida?  

Non-marital assets and liabilities include the following, per section 61.075 of the Florida Statutes: 

1. Assets acquired and liabilities incurred by either party prior to the marriage, and assets acquired and liabilities incurred in exchange for such assets and liabilities;

2. Assets acquired separately by either party by noninterspousal gift, bequest, devise, or descent, and assets acquired in exchange for such assets;

3. All income derived from nonmarital assets during the marriage unless the income was treated, used, or relied upon by the parties as a marital asset;

4. Assets and liabilities excluded from marital assets and liabilities by valid written agreement of the parties, and assets acquired and liabilities incurred in exchange for such assets and liabilities; and

5. Any liability incurred by forgery or unauthorized signature of one spouse signing the name of the other spouse. Any such liability shall be a nonmarital liability only of the party having committed the forgery or having affixed the unauthorized signature. In determining an award of attorney’s fees and costs pursuant to s. 61.16, the court may consider forgery or an unauthorized signature by a party and may make a separate award for attorney’s fees and costs occasioned by the forgery or unauthorized signature. This subparagraph does not apply to any forged or unauthorized signature that was subsequently ratified by the other spouse.

Some of the more interesting Miami and Broward divorce cases involve sections 3 and 5. Section 3 is illustrated as follows: Husband owns a premarital home. He earns rental income from the home. Instead of depositing the income into a separate account that holds only nonmarital funds, he deposits it into a joint account that the spouses share. The husband’s rental income is now marital property in this example. Section 5 is self-explanatory and provides a method for an innocent spouse to even seek attorneys’ fees for the wrongdoing of the other spouse. 

Ultimately, the best way to set clear rules about what’s yours and what belongs to your spouse may be a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Contact a Miami prenuptial agreement lawyer at Streets Law to discuss your best options.