Understanding the Difference Between Non-Marital and Marital Assets in Florida

Couple is divorced who handed their engagement ring to the divorce documents

Understanding the Difference Between Non-Marital and Marital Assets in Florida

Divorce proceedings often involve complex financial considerations, and understanding the distinction between non-marital and marital assets is crucial for a fair and equitable division. In Florida, family law dictates specific criteria for categorizing assets, shaping the financial landscape of divorce. This article explores the differences between non-marital and marital assets in accordance with Florida law.

Defining Marital Assets:

Marital assets in Florida encompass all assets acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This includes real estate, bank accounts, investments, personal property, and other possessions acquired jointly or individually during the marriage. Florida is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital assets are divided fairly, though not necessarily equally, in the event of a divorce.

Determining Non-Marital Assets:

Non-marital assets, also known as separate or individual property, are those owned by one spouse before the marriage or acquired by gift or inheritance during the marriage. Additionally, any assets explicitly outlined as non-marital in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement fall into this category. It’s essential to establish clear documentation and evidence to prove the non-marital status of these assets.

Commingling of Assets:

One common challenge in divorce cases involves the commingling of marital and non-marital assets. Commingling occurs when separate property becomes intertwined with marital assets, making it difficult to distinguish one from the other. For example, funds from an inheritance deposited into a joint bank account can become commingled. Navigating these complexities requires careful documentation and legal guidance.

Appreciation of Non-Marital Assets:

While non-marital assets are generally excluded from equitable distribution, any appreciation or increase in value during the marriage may be subject to division. This means that if a non-marital asset, such as a pre-marital business, experiences growth or increased value during the marriage, the appreciated portion may be considered a marital asset.

Burden of Proof:

In Florida, the burden of proving the non-marital status of an asset rests on the spouse claiming it as such. This emphasizes the importance of maintaining detailed records, including prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, financial statements, and any evidence supporting the separate nature of the asset.

Factors Considered in Equitable Distribution:

When dividing marital assets, Florida courts consider various factors to ensure fairness. These factors include the length of the marriage, the financial contributions of each spouse, the standard of living established during the marriage, and the economic circumstances of each party post-divorce. Understanding how these factors may impact the distribution of assets is crucial for individuals going through a divorce in Florida.


The designation of marital and non-marital assets is a critical aspect of divorce proceedings in Florida. Knowing the criteria that define each category, understanding the potential challenges of commingling, and being aware of the burden of proof are essential for navigating the complexities of asset division. Seeking legal guidance and maintaining thorough documentation are key strategies to ensure a fair and equitable resolution to the financial aspects of divorce under Florida law.

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