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Divorce, property division and inheritances

The divorce process can be emotional for a variety of reasons. To start with, marriage dissolution involves the ending of what is oftentimes a long-lasting and deep relationship. When infidelity or a breakdown in communication is to blame, the split can be even more difficult to handle. In addition, divorce may mean that a couple has to figure out how to co-parent their children. Although working with an ex-spouse can be trying in its own way, marriage dissolution can also significantly limit the amount of time one can spend with his or her children. As if these emotionally trying issues aren't enough, divorce can also deal an individual a significant financial blow.

One way this can occur is through the process of property division. Florida is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital property is divided in a way that the court finds is fair. This does not mean that property will be divided equally. Therefore, the court may consider a number of factors when making a determination, which can leave an individual fearful for his or her post-divorce finances.

One way to avoid property division is to try to show that certain assets are separate from marital property. This is often seen in instances where inheritances have been received by one spouse. Typically, an inheritance is considered separate property that is not subjected to property division during divorce. However, if the inheritance has been comingled with marital assets, such as by depositing the inheritance into a jointly-held account, then it most likely will be converted into marital property. Therefore, it is critical to be careful when considering how to handle inheritances.

One way to avoid the matter altogether is to create a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. Such an agreement can spell out how property will be divided in the event of divorce, thereby taking a judge's opinion out of the question. For those who don't have an agreement in place, it might be wise to sit down with a family law attorney to figure out the best strategy to try to protect one's financial future as fully as possible.

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