Florida is not a community property state. When a couple divorces within state jurisdiction, Florida law applies the principle of equitable division. In this article, you will discover whether a former spouse is entitled to one’s inheritance after divorce in Florida.
Equitable Asset Division – What Happens After Divorce in Florida?
The term “equitable” refers to a fair division of assets, proportionate according to several elements involved in a divorce case. Fair does not necessarily mean equal. When a Florida court applies the principle of equitable division, the goal is not to distribute the property equally.
Equitable distribution is based on different factors that weigh on the share that each party receives. The legal concept of “marital property” generally applies to property or assets acquired during the marriage. Most assets acquired during a marriage are often considered marital property, such as:
- Real property, vehicles, or other physical assets acquired during a marriage
- Funds or assets derived from the appreciation of non-marital assets due to both spouse’s contribution
- Gifts exchanged between spouses during the marriage
- Property held under tenancy by the entirety
- Certain types of retirement benefits
If an asset is considered marital property, it is subject to equitable division during divorce in Florida.
Is My Ex-Wife Entitled to My Inheritance After Divorce in Florida? – The Verdict
Non-marital assets are those not subject to court division during divorce in Florida. Several assets are exempt from court division in cases of divorce, including:
- Assets acquired before marriage
- Assets acquired through non-interspousal gifts
- Income derived from non-marital assets
- Assets excluded by prenuptial or post-nuptial agreements
- An inheritance received by one of the spouses
Considering funds or property obtained through inheritance are not considered marital assets in Florida, an ex-wife should not be entitled to a portion of a former husband’s inheritance.
Unfortunately, some cases are more complex than others. Depending on the case’s circumstances, an inheritance received by one of the spouses may be subject to division during divorce.
Is My Ex-Wife Entitled to My Inheritance After Divorce in Florida? – Commingling Assets During Marriage
If a spouse fails to maintain inherited assets separate from marital assets, these assets are exposed to the risk of being subject to Florida property division laws upon divorce. It is not unusual to find couples who commingle inherited assets with marital assets.
For example, if one of the spouses inherits a property from his parents and decides to re-title it in both spouses’ names, the property immediately becomes marital property. Please note that commingling inherited property can be subtle.
Let’s say a spouse inherits a savings account from her parents and decides to maintain the account in her name only. If the husband is allowed to access the account and invest money for several assets, the account may be considered a marital asset.