The division of marital property may be a contested issue in a Florida divorce, particularly with respect to interspousal gifts. Interspousal gifts are presumed to be marital assets under Florida law and are therefore subject to equitable division. Determining whether an asset is marital property can be challenging, but a West Palm Beach property division lawyer can guide you through the process. At the Law Office of Jessica Mishali, P.A., we can provide representation and legal advice in a Florida divorce where interspousal gifts are at issue.Interspousal Gifts in a Florida Divorce
One of the major aspects of a Florida divorce is the division of the couple’s marital property. Broadly speaking, assets and liabilities that are acquired jointly or individually during a marriage are considered marital property. In the event of a divorce, marital property is subject to equitable division. However, nonmarital property acquired prior to or during a marriage will remain with each spouse after a divorce, as long as it was not commingled with marital assets. Under Florida law, nonmarital property includes gifts receives from someone other than a spouse during the marriage. For example, the watch that your grandfather left to you in his will is your separate property, whether or not you were married at the time.
Interspousal gifts are treated differently in a Florida divorce. An interspousal gift is a gift that one spouse gives to the other spouse during their marriage. The Florida equitable distribution statute expressly states that interspousal gifts made during the marriage are marital assets. Consequently, interspousal gifts are subject to equitable division in the event of a divorce, unless the presumption is overcome by clear and convincing evidence.
Disputes over interspousal gifts tend to arise when the asset at issue was purchased with the separate funds of one spouse and is titled in their name only. For the other spouse to claim an interest in the asset, they must establish that it is an interspousal gift. This requires a showing of a clear and unmistakable intention on the part of the donor to make the gift, delivery or possession of the gift, and surrender of dominion and control of the gift. It is important to note that even when an asset is determined to be an interspousal gift, that does not always mean it will be split evenly. In some situations, the court may find that an unequal distribution is necessary for equity and justice between the parties.
Negotiating a marital property settlement agreement may be beneficial in some cases to ensure that expectations are met with respect to interspousal gifts. In a contested divorce action where the parties have not filed a stipulation and agreement, the court will enter an order or judgment distributing their marital assets and liabilities. In making its decision, the court begins with the premise that division of the marital property should be equal, unless there are relevant factors that justify an unequal distribution. If the parties reach an agreement as to the ownership of a particular asset, the court need not decide the matter. A divorce lawyer in West Palm Beach can provide advice regarding such an agreement and help pursue a favorable property settlement in your divorce.Seek Advice From a Divorce Lawyer Regarding Interspousal Gifts
If you have questions about how interspousal gifts may affect property division in your divorce, a skilled West Palm Beach attorney can assist you. Attorney Jessica Mishali can provide legal guidance to people located throughout Martin, Palm Beach, and Broward Counties, including West Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Davie, Jupiter, Wellington, Coral Springs, Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Stuart, Jensen Beach, Pompano Beach, Delray Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Indiantown, Plantation, Boca Raton, Hobe Sound, Hallandale Beach, Palm City, and Fort Lauderdale. Schedule a consultation to discuss a divorce or family law issue with an experienced lawyer by calling (561) 833-2772 or by contacting the Law Offices of Jessica Mishali, P.A. online.