Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A.
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Division of Property and Assets in Jupiter, Florida

In cases involving the division of property and assets, the Court will identify and value all marital assets. Debts to cover nonmarital expenses should not be classified and allocated as marital debts. "Section 61.075(3), Florida Statutes (2012), requires the trial court to identify and value all marital assets and liabilities. Distribution of the marital assets and liabilities must be supported by factual findings in the judgment or order based on competent, substantial evidence. Kovalchick v. Kovalchick, 841 So. 2d 669, 679 (Fla. 4th DCA 2003). We review such findings for an abuse of discretion. See Steele v. Steele, 945 So. 2d 601, 602 (Fla. 4th DCA 2006). However, we review de novo the trial court's legal conclusion that an asset or liability is "marital" or "nonmarital," as defined in the statute. Mondello v. Torres, 47 So. 3d 389, 392 (Fla. 4th DCA 2010)

However, to the extent that a party incurred debts to cover nonmarital expenses, the debt should not be classified as marital debt for the purpose of equitable distribution. Fortune v. Fortune, 61 So. 3d 441,445 (Fla. 2d DCA 2011) (reversing because the trial court classified the entire amount of a loan as a martial debt without making a finding as to when the debt was incurred or what the debt was used to pay); Walker v. Walker,827 So. 2d 363, 364-65 (Fla. 2d DCA 2002) (reversing because the trial court classified the entire amount of a debt as a marital debt without determining which portion of the debt was used to pay the husband's litigation and living expenses versus paying his personal income tax and property taxes). Here, based on the former husband's own testimony, the trial court determined that the credit card debt in the former husband's name was nonmarital. His testimony concerning the nature and purpose of his credit card expenses sufficiently overcame the presumption that the liability was marital. Because we find no error in the trial court's classification of the former husband's credit card debt as nonmarital, we affirm.

To speak with a divorce attorney in Jupiter, Florida, contact Matthew Lane & Associates, P.A. at (561) 651-7273.

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