Commingling Assets in Florida: What You Need to Know
It is not uncommon for married couples to share their property. Indeed, many couples handle virtually all of their finances using joint bank accounts. When they do so, they are essentially commingling their assets. To be clear, there is nothing wrong with commingling assets. For many married couples in Florida, it is effective and efficient.
At the same time, it is important that married couples understand the legal implications of commingling assets in Florida. Commingled property will likely become marital property. In this article, our Tampa divorce attorneys discuss the most important things you need to know about commingling of property in Florida.
Marital Property is Subject to Equitable Distribution
Under Florida law (Florida Statutes § 61.075), marital property is subject to equitable distribution in a divorce. In other words, each spouse will receive their rightful (fair) share of the marital assets and marital liabilities. In contrast, separate property will not be divided in a divorce. A separate asset—such as the proceeds of a pre-marital savings account—may be solely owned by an individual spouse. That spouse has the right to keep their separate property in a divorce.
With Commingling, Separate Property Can Become Marital Property
Separate property is a non-marital asset. However, in Florida, separate property will only stay a non-marital asset if the proper precautions are taken. Separate property must be protected by a legally enforceable marital agreement (prenup or postnup) or it must be kept apart from marital assets. Separate property is only separate property if a clear distinction is made. When separate property is commingled with the marital assets, it will likely lose its status as individual property. Here is a simple example:
- Imagine that a husband entered a marriage with $50,000 of savings in a separate bank account. Under Florida law, the husband could keep that money as separate property as long as he kept it away from the other marital assets. However, if the husband commingled those funds by depositing them into a joint bank account, then the money would no longer be separate property. It is the mere act of commingling the funds that would make them a marital asset.
The bottom line: Commingled property is assumed to be marital property. If you want to preserve an asset as separate property, it is imperative that you take proactive steps to keep that asset away from other marital property. For the greatest level of financial protection, you should consider signing a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement.
Call Our Tampa, FL Divorce Attorneys for Immediate Assistance
At Bubley & Bubley, P.A., our Florida family lawyers provide top quality, solutions-oriented advocacy to clients. We know how to navigate complex questions about property distribution. If you have questions about the commingling of assets, we can help. For a confidential initial consultation, please contact us right away. We represent clients all around Hillsborough County, including in Town ‘n’ County, Riverview, Brandon, Lutz, Ruskin, Plant City, and Northdale.