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Can I Lose Family Heirlooms In A Florida Divorce?


Is your fear of losing precious family heirlooms and personal assets keeping you from moving forward with a divorce? If so, you are not alone. Many people have heard horror stories about others who have lost everything going through a divorce, but that does not have to be your story. In fact, many people don’t know that there are many assets that are off limits when it comes to divorce settlements, so don’t let your fear stop you from moving forward. Instead, let’s focus on getting informed so that you can make the best decision for you and your situation.

Can I Lose Heirlooms in a Divorce?

The first question to ask when trying to determine how any asset will be treated in a divorce is whether it is separate or marital property. Separate property is the individual property of one spouse, whereas marital property can be claimed by either spouse. This is an important distinction because Florida divorce court judges only have jurisdiction to divide marital property. Separate property cannot be divided or touched during a divorce. The good news is that in almost all cases, family heirlooms will be treated as separate property. However, when and how you received the heirloom and whether your spouse invested money and effort in restoring it will be relevant factors in making this determination. For instance, an heirloom received by one spouse prior to marriage will remain the separate property of that spouse. Likewise, an heirloom gifted to one spouse by a third party, such as their parent or a member of their family, will also remain their separate property, even if it was gifted to them during their marriage. Heirlooms received as part of an inheritance will almost always be treated as separate property. However, if the other spouse invested significant effort or finances in restoring the heirloom, or if it was treated as a marital asset, your spouse may have a claim that it is actually marital property. Heirlooms given from one spouse to another during the course of the marriage, or heirlooms gifted to the couple, will also be treated as marital property.

How Are Heirlooms Divided if they are Marital Property?

If an heirloom is determined to be shared marital property, there are a number of ways that it can be divided in a divorce. The parties will first have the opportunity to decide how they want to divide the heirlooms, and may have assistance from a mediator or lawyers in negotiating this outcome. If they cannot decide, then a judge will. It will be important for the parties to have the heirloom appraised so that they know the value. In some cases, one spouse may be able to purchase the heirloom from the other, or trade them another asset that is worth about the same amount of money.

Contact Greater Orlando Family Law Today

If you are going through a divorce, you need a dedicated Orlando divorce lawyer on your side to make sure your rights, interests, and assets are protected. Contact Greater Orlando Family Law today to schedule a personalized consultation.


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