According to Florida Law, real property acquired prior to the marriage is generally considered a nonmarital asset. However, if marital funds are used to pay down the mortgage on the property or enhance its value in some way, then resulting equity in the property may be subject to equitable distribution as a marital asset:
First, we address the marital enhancement of nonmarital assets. The trial court erred by classifying the 8811 Gunn Highway property as a marital asset and awarding it to the wife. The husband purchased the property before the marriage, and it was titled in his name alone. The marital funds used to pay down the mortgage on the property, however, enhanced the value of the nonmarital asset; thus, the resulting equity in the property is a marital asset subject to equitable distribution. See § 61.075(5)(a) 2., Fla. Stat. (1993); Cole v. Roberts, 661 So.2d 370 (Fla. 4th DCA 1995); Straley v. Frank, 612 So.2d 610 (Fla. 2d DCA 1992). The accountant testified that the marital estate had acquired $149,122 in equity in 8811 Gunn Highway. Also, as the husband candidly admits, the trial court erred in his favor by failing to credit the marital estate for the equity it acquired in his nonmarital property at 8001 Gunn Highway ($41,445) and 8809 Gunn Highway ($30,574). Thus, on remand the trial court must treat 8811 Gunn Highway as a nonmarital asset and reflect the marital enhancements of nonmarital properties as marital assets subject to distribution.
See: Cornette v. Cornette, 704 So. 2d 667 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 1997)
- Marital vs. Non-Marital Property in Florida
- Are rental property owned prior to marriage marital assets?
- How to Divide Marital Assets in Florida During a Divorce
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to send us an email or call him now at (954) 880-1302.
If you found this information helpful, please share this article and bookmark it for your future reference.