Florida divorce: Gifts, inheritances and household items

On Behalf of | Jul 27, 2021 | Blog |

Even though both divorces and marriages saw a national decline in the decade between 2010 and 2019, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, the former still takes place. The U.S. Census Bureau also reports that the 2018 divorce rate in Florida was approximately 8%, close to the nation’s average.

Property division is often a contentious topic during divorce, particularly if the breakup is less than pleasant. Florida is an equitable division state, meaning courts split shared marital assets based on fairness instead of equality while separate ones stay with their original owners. While this may seem simple, it has the potential to be complex, especially as relates to gifts, inheritances and household items.

1. Gifts

Florida law generally treats gifts given to the couple or given by one spouse to the other during marriage as marital property, meaning it is subject to division. Ones gifted before marriage usually count as separate property. If one spouse receives a gift from an outside third party while wedded, this also falls under the umbrella of “separate property”, but, in certain cases, may over time become marital property. The most prevalent example of this is when gifted money ends up in shared funds.

2. Inheritances

In general, Florida considers inheritance received by one individual separate property, even if inherited while said person is in a marriage. However, like with gifts, the status may change as a result of comingling resources. Adding the other spouse’s name to inherited property or accounts holding inherited money removes the “separate property” label.

3. Household items

Furniture, decorations, knickknacks and other household possessions acquired after marriage are marital property. Such items usually may have to undergo an appraisal for division.

Mediation, collaborative divorce and negotiation may help with distributing smaller, personal items and gifts like dishes peaceably.