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Divorce and division of property: what's really yours?

Married couples in Florida may find themselves sharing a myriad of belongings, ranging from bank accounts to real estate. Deciding who gets what in the event of a divorce can lead to quite a conundrum. There's several things which may be taken into consideration, including homes, vehicles, retirement plans, stock options and more. There's many common misconceptions regarding distribution of marital property and what is considered separate property versus marital property.

Many couples start marriage with certain agreements like 'what's mine is mine and what's yours is yours," or 'what's mine is yours, what's yours is mine." However, when faced with divorce, those concepts aren't that simple anymore. Understanding differences between separate and marital property is important when it comes to divvying up the goods. In basic terms, separate property at the time of divorce could be that which was owned individually by one party or the other prior to marriage, gifts previously received by one party or the other as well as prior inheritance payments or personal injury settlements.

Marital property, on the other hand, consists of items acquired during the marriage. This includes but is not limited to homes, vehicles, 401K plans, bank accounts, real estate and more. This may also include items which were once considered separate property. For instance, property that was owned by one party prior to the marriage, but changed to joint ownership during the course of a marriage may be considered marital property at the time of divorce.

Even the most amicable divorces have certain elements of surprise. With that said, in any case, an experienced family law attorney may be able to assist in helping you determine which assets to pursue and assist in reaching a fair settlement.

Source: Huffington Post, "Understanding How Assets Get Divided In Divorce", Jeff Landers, June 14, 2013