Appeals Court Splits Personal Funds Held in Joint Account in Florida Divorce
Brandon, FL (Law Firm Newswire) August 8, 2014 - A Florida woman's recent divorce taught her a tough lesson in commingling of assets.
In the context of family law, "commingling of assets" is the act of combining a non-marital asset with a marital asset. The asset that couples most often commingle is cash. That is exactly what happened in the case of Sorgen v. Sorgen, which was recently decided by Florida's Fourth District Court of Appeals (DCA). Attorney O. Reginald Osenton, who is not involved with the case, explained how the case illustrates the legal ideas behind it.
“Mrs. Sorgen and her sisters inherited their parents' home, and when the house was sold, she deposited the money into the joint bank account she and her husband held,” Osenton said. “When her husband filed for divorce, she took the funds back and held them in her separate account, as she considered the money hers.”
The trial court agreed, and ruled that the funds were non-marital property belonging to the wife. But on appeal, the fourth DCA overturned that ruling. The court held that when the wife put the money into the joint account, she created a presumption that the husband had an undivided one-half interest in the funds. Absent any evidence to rebut that presumption, the funds were a marital asset to be split equally.
“Opinions on cases like this tend to vary widely,” Osenton went on. “After all, the trial court and appeals court disagreed. But it shows just how careful people should be about commingling assets. If there is any doubt as to whether certain funds belong to an individual or a couple, it is better to take the cautious route and keep the money in one's own account.”
Osenton Law Office, PA
500 Lithia Pinecrest Road
Brandon, Florida 33511
Call: (813) 654-5777
- Despite decline, Tampa leads big cities in foreclosures
A recent report on national foreclosure statistics paints an improving, but still unfortunate, picture for Tampa, Florida, homeowners. First, the good news. The Tampa-St. Petersburg metropolitan area has seen a 23 percent decline in home foreclosures in the past year — one of the largest decreases among large U.S. cities. Now, the bad news. Despite […]
- Woman’s handwritten note insufficient to revoke will
The heirs of a deceased New York woman received an object lesson in the importance of taking proper, legally enforceable action when altering a will. Some years before Patricia Powers died, she apparently wished to revoke her existing will entirely, and attempted to do so by writing a note to that effect on the will’s […]
- Chapter 13 can help those saddled with student loan debt
A recent story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette highlights an increasingly common strategy for dealing with unmanageable student loan debt: Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you have student loans, you may already be aware that those debts cannot be discharged under Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation except in very limited cases. Under Chapter 13 reorganization, however, debtors agree […]