Myth #5 – Whoever is on the Title, Gets the Property
Absolutely false. If the asset, whether a car or a vacation home, was acquired during the marriage, it is marital property subject to equitable distribution between the parties by the court.
Things get a little more complicated with assets that were acquired before the marriage.
If a house was owned free and clear by one spouse prior to the marriage, and the other spouse was never added to the title (for instance an inherited vacation home) that asset is not considered marital, and the spouse that brought the asset to the marriage, keeps that asset. It is not a part of equitable distribution. However, if one spouse purchased an asset prior to the marriage, and that asset has been paid down during the marriage (payments made on a financed car during the marriage for instance), then the amount that the asset was paid down, not the whole asset, becomes a part of marital assets, and subject to equitable distribution.
This is important to recognize. Sometimes, it is beneficial to give up an asset in return for paying more alimony, as alimony results in a tax deduction, but losing an asset in equitable distribution does not. It is best to plan through these decisions, without emotion, to make the best long-term decisions.
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Brandon FL, 33510