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How might separate property be converted to marital property?

Florida residents often enter their marriages after working hard in their careers and earning significant income prior to walking down the aisle. As such, when they marry, they may possess significant assets and wealth separate and apart from what they may plan to own with their future spouse. If they do not safeguard the management and use of their separate property, though, those assets may be viewed as marital property and may be subject to division should the couple eventually divorce.

For example, if a person has a bank account that contains $1 million prior to their marriage and begins to use funds from that account for marital purposes, the account may later be considered a marital asset since it was used for the benefit of the relationship. Similarly, if the account was kept in the name of the individual partner but the partner contributed their income earned during the marriage into it, the account may be considered marital as earnings accrued during a marriage are generally considered marital assets.

An increase in an asset's value over the course of a marriage may be sufficient to make the property's increased value a marital asset. This may occur if a person owns a vacation that is initially valued at $500,000, but after ten years of marriage is valued at $700,000. The $200,000 increase in value may be considered martial property since it came into being over the course of the couple's marriage.

It can be difficult to keep one's separate property truly separate after a marriage but there are ways to safeguard one's individual assets. Through the use of prenuptial agreements and consultation with family law attorneys some individuals may be able to protect their separate assets in the event they divorce from their spouses.

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