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Marital property concerns with mid-life marriages

Many people choose to marry when they are middle aged or older. The people getting married often have assets such as savings, a home or a business. Some may have children from a first marriage.

While no one enters a marriage expecting it to end in divorce, there are special concerns for people who marry when they are older. Will they keep the assets they brought to the marriage? Will their children's inheritance be safe if they die before their spouse?

You may have heard that the assets you bring to a marriage will still be yours if the marriage ends in divorce. While this is generally true, there are many exception to the rule. Your separate property can become marital property - and be subject to Florida's equitable distribution law if you are divorced.

Here are just a few examples of how separate property can become marital property:

  • If you deposit your money is a joint bank account, the money becomes marital property.
  • If you refinance your home and add your spouse's name to the deed, your house becomes marital property.
  • If a spouse contributes to a home or business, he or she may gain the right to an equitable share.
  • If your assets increase in value, your spouse may be entitled to an equitable share.
  • If you die without a will, your spouse may be entitled to at least half of the assets accumulated during your marriage.

If you have assets you want to keep in the event of a divorce, it's important to keep good records and to discuss Florida's equitable distribution laws with an experienced attorney.

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