If your spouse caused a car accident in Florida, you may be worried about what this will mean for you and your property. Since Florida is an equitable distribution state, your marital assets are subject to division in a fair manner in the event of divorce.
Therefore, it is practical to be concerned about your spouse’s actions affecting your property. However, the state’s no-fault insurance system may muddy the waters.
What Are Marital Assets?
Under Florida law, marital assets are any assets you obtain during your marriage. There are exceptions, such as:
- Property obtained as an individual gift or inheritance
- Property obtained pursuant to a valid written agreement
- Property obtained by using separate property
Generally, marital assets and debts are the responsibility of both parties and are subject to division when a couple divorces.
What Are Separate Assets?
Separate property generally refers to assets that you owned before you were married, as well as the property you obtained during your marriage that meets any of the exceptions of marital property, as identified above.
Minimum Liability Insurance Requirements in Florida
One important line of defense that you may have if your spouse causes an accident is your insurance. Florida minimum insurance requirements include:
- Personal injury protection coverage covers 80% of all necessary and reasonable medical expenses, up to $10,000, regardless of fault
- Property damage liability insurance of $10,000 covers the other driver’s vehicle damage.
These are just the minimum amounts of coverage. You can purchase additional coverage to provide greater protection. Generally, the accident victim would not sue unless their and your insurance coverage has been exhausted.
Liability for Spouse
In Florida, you could be liable for your spouse’s debts after a car accident. If your spouse caused an accident, your marital property could be in jeopardy. If the other party sues, they could seek to seize this property or have it sold to pay off their judgment against your spouse.
This means that property such as your home, vehicle, jewelry, funds in your bank account, and other property could be in jeopardy because of your spouse’s negligence.
Ways to Protect Property If a Spouse Causes an Accident in Florida
There are ways that you may be able to protect your property in the event of liability stemming from your spouse’s actions, such as:
- Converting marital property to separate property – You may be able to change marital property to separate property since separate property is usually easier to protect. For example, you could re-title property into your spouse’s name.
- Creating a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement – You could specify in a prenuptial and postnuptial agreement, which is a written contract, how your marital property will be classified during your marriage.
- Maintaining separate property – It will be easier for you to show what your assets are if you consistently keep them separate from marital property.
- Setting up an asset protection trust – Asset protection trusts are useful in helping prevent exposure to creditors and claimants against you.
A Florida Car Crash Lawyer Can Help You
An experienced car accident lawyer can explain your legal options if you are worried about protecting your assets after a spouse caused an accident in Florida. You shouldn’t have to be responsible for your spouse’s mistakes, and a lawyer can make arguments about equitable resolutions to this type of problem.
Contact the Orlando Family and Divorce Law Firm of Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC for Help Today
Conti Moore Law Divorce Lawyers, PLLC
815 N Magnolia Ave Suite 100
Orlando, FL 32803