A division of property and assets case captioned Ritacco v. Ritacco was recently decided by the Florida Court of Appeal. This case involved a twenty-two year marriage. During the course of the marriage, the parties had two children. Both are now adults. The Husband drew a salary, received a pension, and owned a DROP account. The Wife moved out of the marital home on the day that she filed her Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.
The Wife also borrowed $65,761.00 from the parties’ HELOC on that date. The Wife deposited these funds into her bank account. She testified at the final hearing that she used these funds to support her daughter and herself. She stated that she used these funds to purchase gas, clothing, food, and to pay for medical visits for her daughter. At the hearing, the Husband asserted that the Wife’s withdrawal from the HELOC was a non-marital debt.
The Florida Court of Appeal stated that under Florida statutes, there are three dates that a Court may utilize to classify marital assets and liabilities. The first date is the date on which the parties executed a valid separation agreement. The second date is a date agreed to by the parties in a valid separation agreement. In the event that neither of these dates apply, the date that Florida Courts utilize to classify marital assets and liabilities is the date that a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed.