Mixing Assets Acquired Before Marriage with Assets Acquired During Marriage

Posted on March 21, 2017

The Court in Landrum v. Landrum, No. 1D16-0291, 2017 WL 729772 (Fla. 1st DCA 2017), had to determine what assets were marital before the Court could equitably distribute the marital property.  The former husband appeals a final order equitably distributing the parties’ marital assets. The husband argues that the distribution of real property in the order is wrong in several ways.

The first asset to assets was the Pigeon Creek property, which consisted of two contiguous parcels, one was 13 acres and the other was 3.5 acres. Prior to the parties getting married in 2001, the Husband and his sister each owned an undivided half-interest in the smaller parcel, and the Husband solely owned the larger parcel.  During the course of the marriage, the parties gave the Husband’s sister money for the property taxes on a different tract of land she owned. As repayment for this money, the sister deeded to the Husband, her half-interest in the smaller Pigeon Creek parcel. Thus, resulting in both Pigeon Creek parcels being solely titled in the Husband’s name when the marriage was dissolved.  The trial court had determined the entire 3.5-acre parcel was a marital asset because Husband acquired his sister’s interest with marital funds.

A de novo review of the trial Court’s legal conclusion whether an asset is marital or non-marital, assets acquired during the marriage by either spouse individually or by both spouses jointly are marital assets. § 61.075(6)(a)(1)(a), Fla. Stat. (2014). On the other hand, assets acquired by either party before the marriage are non-marital assets. § 61.075(6)(b)(1).

Therefore, the half interest Husband acquired in the 3.5- acre parcel of the pigeon Creek property before the marriage was a non-marital asset, while the interest he acquired during the marriage with marital funds was a marital asset. The acquisition of his sister’s half-interest in the parcel with marital funds did not convert his pre-marital half-interest in the parcel into a marital asset. Therefore, the trial court erred in determining that the 3.5-acre parcel of the Pigeon Creek property was entirely a marital asset. The appellate court remanded the case to the trial court for entry of an amended final order consistent with this opinion.

NOTICE: THIS OPINION HAS NOT BEEN RELEASED FOR PUBLICATION IN THE PERMANENT LAW REPORTS. UNTIL RELEASED, IT IS SUBJECT TO REVISION OR WITHDRAWAL.

If you or anyone you know is in need of representation in actions involving Guardianship, Probate and/or Trust Disputes, or questions pertaining to such proceedings, please contact The Law Offices of Glenn M. Mednick, P.L., at (954) 315-1154 or gmednick@mednicklawgroup.com.

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