Articles Posted in Marital assets

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Celebrity divorces can be difficult, not only because of extensive media coverage but also because one or both of the spouses may have a significant amount of wealth. In one recent divorce, a wife is attempting to obtain a large portion of her husband’s $85 million fortune as well as a large amount of additional ongoing support.

The wife of songwriter, singer, and successful music producer Timbaland filed for divorce at the end of June. She previously filed in 2013 though that case was dismissed as they attempted to reconcile. Apparently that attempt at reconciliation was not successful, as now she has not only filed again but requested many different types of financial support, including the following:

  • Child support for both their biological daughter and her son from a prior relationship
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German media recently reported a story regarding an angry husband who decided to take the division of property into his own hands following a split with his wife of 12 years. The man posted a video on Youtube that showed him taking a chainsaw to many of his and his wife’s possessions and literally cutting them in half. The video shows the resulting half of a bicycle, a couch, a bed, a laptop, an iPhone, a teddy bear, and even their car. The husband claims he sent one set of halves to his wife and posted his own set on eBay.

While this husband’s video entertained millions of viewers and his actions garnered international attention, pulling such a stunt is not advisable in the face of divorce from a financial and legal standpoint. In fact, in a Florida divorce case, that husband would likely face financial consequences for destroying marital property in such a manner.

Property Division in Accordance with Florida Law

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87-year-old Martin Zelman of Palm Beach has filed for divorce from his wife of 15 years, though now Florida family courts will have to decide whether or not he truly wants one. Last year, another Florida judge declared Zelman mentally incompetent and appointed his son and daughter as his guardians. With this declaration, Zelman lost the right to make most decisions for himself, however, he retained the right to file legal claims, which allowed him to file a divorce petition. His wife, 80-year-old Lois Zelman, is challenging the validity of the divorce filing as she claims Martin does not, in fact, want to get divorced. She asserts that his three children are behind the divorce and that they have purposefully isolated Martin and fabricated stories that she abused him.

If Lois remains married to Martin until his death, she would retain access to their homes in Palm Beach and New York City, their cars, their club memberships and art, and will receive an estimated $10 million. If the judge grants the divorce, Lois will receive none of Martin’s $50 million dollar estate based on a prenuptial agreement they signed prior to marriage and his children will instead inherit all of his wealth. The judge stated that he will have to determine whether or not each side is simply fighting over money or whether they truly have Martin’s best interests in mind. Each side, of course, claims the case is not about the money.

Divorce Involving an Incapacitated Person in Florida

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Upon divorce, Florida law requires that all marital assets and property be equitably divided between the spouses. First, the court must determine which assets are considered to be marital property and which assets are separate (or non-marital) property. Generally, the courts will then start by presuming that all marital property should be divided 50/50, but may then adjust the division after carefully considering several factors. Such factors include each spouse’s financial situation, contribution to the marriage, and support of the other spouse’s pursuit of higher education or career opportunities.

If a spouse loses a loved one, they may have received an inheritance, which may include liquid assets, property, investments, titles, and more. While inheritances can have substantial financial value, they also may have significant emotional value, as well, especially in the case of family homes, businesses, heirlooms, or other meaningful property. If you receive an inheritance and are considering divorce, it is only natural that you may be concerned about the fate of the inherited money or property.

Is an Inheritance Marital or Non-Marital Property?

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One question I get quite frequently is whether or not an engagement ring is considered a marital asset.

In order to answer this question you need to know what a marital asset is. A marital asset is any asset acquired during the marriage. An engagement ring is generally a gift that is received prior to a marriage, therefore engagement rings are nonmarital, separate property of the recipient spouse.

A distinction should be made between gifts of jewelry that are made between the parties during the marriage. These items are considered interspousal gifts, and interspousal gifts are treated as marital assets.

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Marital assets and liabilities are defined as follows:

Assets acquired and liabilities incurred during the marriage, individually by either spouse or jointly by them.

The enhancement in value and appreciation of nonmarital assets resulting either from the efforts of either party during the marriage or from the contribution to or expenditure thereon of marital funds or other forms of marital assets, or both.

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If you can show “good cause” to the court, you may be entitled to an interim partial distribution of marital assets.

Good cause is defined as extraordinary circumstances that require an interim partial distribution. In order to obtain this type of relief, you are required to file a sworn motion setting forth specific factual basis for the relief that you are seeking. You would have to demonstrate to the court good cause as to why the court should not defer its ruling until the final hearing.

As just one example, employing this technique for an interim partial distribution of marital assets can be extremely helpful if one person is in need of immediate funds,