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In A Divorce The Court Must Address Whether Assets Are Marital or Nonmarital For Equitable Distribution Purposes

December 22, 2015 by  
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In Goldman v. Goldman, The Fifth District Court of Appeals for the State of Florida ruled that it was error for the trial court not to have designate whether the wife’s checking account and certificate of deposit, both of which were in wife’s name, were marital or nonmarital property for the purposes of equitable distribution.  The wife had argued that the assets were nonmarital while the husband had argued that they were marital.

In its final judgment, the trial court stated that “[e]ach party shall be entitled to the sole and exclusive use and possession of the checking/savings, money market, CD and cash accounts in their respective names.”
 
However the Fifth District Court of Appeals found that this was not enough.  “Under the equitable distribution statute, the court must categorize the parties’ assets as nonmarital and marital.” Knecht v. Knecht, 629 So. 2d 883, 886 (Fla. 3d DCA1993) (citing § 61.075(1), Fla. Stat. (1991); Robertson v. Robertson, 593 So. 2d 491, 493 (Fla. 1991)). Because the record was not clear whether the trial court determined that these two assets were the wife’s nonmarital property, or instead, made an unequal distribution of marital assets, the decision was reversed for the trial court to provide clarification.

 

Florida’s Fourth District Court Of Appeals Weighs In On Prenuptial Agreements And Interspousal Gifts

September 4, 2015 by  
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In Hooker v. Hooker, the Fourth District Court of Appeals held that where the Husband purchased two properties with funds that could be traced to his premarital assets, which were kept separate by the parties’ prenuptial agreement, and the prenuptial agreement provided that any appreciation of those assets would remain separate, the only way the Wife could claim an interest in either property was by interspousal gift.

The Court then considered whether an interspousal gift had been made in regard to either of the two properties.  With respect to the property that constituted the parties’ primary marital residence through the majority of marriage and was the  site of a business in which the Wife was extremely involved, none of the facts found by trial court evidenced a clear and unmistakable intention on part of Husband to make a gift.

With respect to a second home, the facts evidenced that there had been an interspousal gift so the Wife had an interest in that property.  The court held that there was intent, delivery or possession, and surrender of dominion and control.  The Husband bought the property in a location where the Wife wanted to live, told the Wife the home was for both of them, and sent the Wife a card for their wedding anniversary with a picture of the property.  The Wife purchased  furnishings and incidentals for the home from her separate funds.  Delivery was made at the time the Wife obtained keys to property to use as her summer home.  The Wife then had unfettered access to the home and made decisions on the care and maintenance of property. The Court also held that appropriate findings had been made under the statutory factors for there to be an unequal equitable distribution of the parties interest in the property.

If you need to talk to a lawyer or attorney about a prenuptial agreement, your divorce, the division of assets and liabilities, the classification of marital and non-marital property, its valuation under the law, unequal equitable distribution, and presenting the legal arguments and evidence to the court, contact our office to arrange a consultation on (786)539-4935

Disclaimer: The Law Offices of Robert Hanreck, P.A. is based in Miami , Florida and serves clients throughout the State including Miami-Dade and Broward counties. We are licensed to practice law in the State of Florida. This website is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to constitute legal advice, or solicit clients outside of the State of Florida.