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Does My Relationship with My Spouse Prior to Marriage Affect Our Current Divorce?

Divorce is complicated at the best of times, and one of the most complicated components is the division of marital property. The big questions are what’s yours alone, what’s your spouse’s, and what’s yours to be divided. The fact of the matter is that, if you and your now-spouse cohabitated together before your marriage, it can complicate the matter even further. If you have divorce-related concerns, an experienced Brandon, Florida, family law attorney can help.

Equitable Distribution

In Florida, the division of marital property in a divorce is based on equitable distribution, which – in short – means that the property you and your spouse acquired together as a married couple should be distributed between you in a manner that is fair given the circumstances of your marriage. Your marital property refers to that property acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name the property is under. Some exceptions to this rule include:

Any assets that either of you acquired prior to marriage – and that you maintained as separate property throughout your marriage – remain separate property that is yours alone. If you lived together prior to marriage, however, and either of you amassed assets at that time, it can make the division of property more complicated.

The Division of Your Marital Property

If you and your divorcing spouse are unable to come to terms that you can both agree to regarding the division of your marital property, the court will need to do so on your behalf. In doing so, the court will take many variables into consideration, and one of them is the length of your marriage. While premarital cohabitation does not increase the length of your marriage, any major purchases during this time might be at issue – such as if you bought a home together prior to marriage and furnished that home using commingled funds. Even if the home is in only one name and it was purchased prior to marriage, the house and its furnishings might be divided as marital property in a divorce.

In addition, you might both share responsibility for some premarital debts. If your spouse had a credit card before marriage that they used for the benefit of both of you, they might argue that you should be liable for a portion of that debt.

When it comes to cohabitation prior to marriage and the division of marital property upon divorce, it can be complex, but the dedicated Brandon family law attorneys at Carman, Bevington & Finegan are committed to helping you untangle the web of separate vs. marital property while protecting your rights. We’re here for you, so please don’t hesitate to contact us online or call us at 813-654-3444 for more information today.