When dividing property in a divorce, the court will often try to determine to whom it belongs. They will start by looking at what the law says about the ownership of marital property. The Florida Bar explains the law distinguishes between marital property and non-marital property. This allows the court to determine if you or spouse own an asset or if you both own it.

Marital assets are something you both own. They generally include things you bought or acquired during your marriage. The court will fairly divide these items between you and your spouse. Do keep in mind the law for this is equitable distribution, which means dividing the assets equally. This does not mean you will each get the same number of assets, though. Equity depends on value. The court will aim to divide things so you each have the same value of property.

Non-marital assets are a bit more complicated. You do not share these assets with your spouse. Generally, you either brought them into the marriage with you or they are exempt by law from becoming marital property. An example would be an inheritance. The court will not divide a non-marital asset. It remains the property of whichever one of you owns it. However, there are tricky rules when it comes to non-marital assets because sometimes property you own coming into the marriage can become a marital asset.

Marital property is much easier to understand than non-marital property. Both do have some rules, though, that could change the status of the assets, which may require legal help to understand. This information is for education and is not legal advice.

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