Tampa Asset Protection Attorney

The Tampa asset protection attorney team at Quinn & Lynch P.A. helps divorcing spouses safeguard personal assets, including investments, bank accounts, personal property, retirement accounts, and more, through a comprehensive Florida asset protection strategy. As experienced Tampa divorce attorneys, we understand the complexities of distinguishing between community property and marital property, especially for divorcing spouses with significant wealth. Our approach to protecting assets ensures that all financial resources are fairly evaluated and handled, from securing child support payments to enforcing premarital agreements during marital dissolution. It’s crucial for divorcing spouses to transparently disclose all marital and separate assets, as attempts to hide assets can lead to legal repercussions. Let our expertise in asset protection strategy guide you through the intricacies of asset division, ensuring your hard-earned wealth is protected as you navigate the divorce process.

Take the first step toward protecting your financial future–call 813-223-7739 to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our legal team. 

Tampa asset protection attorney

Divorce Obligations in Florida

In Florida, there are three kinds of financial obligations a person may face as a result of their divorce: spousal support, child support, and equitable distribution awards.

Equitable Distribution

Equitable distribution in Florida means marital property is divided fairly, not necessarily equally, unlike other states, known as community property states, that use community property conditions where marital assets are typically split 50/50. Marital property includes anything not clearly owned by one spouse alone, such as jointly accrued debts and assets during marriage. Assets owned prior to marriage, like a personal bank account not contributed to by the other spouse, are considered separate property and not subject to equitable distribution in a Florida divorce.

To protect assets and personal wealth against equitable distribution, proactive measures should be taken well before initiating a divorce, always under the guidance of a legal professional to avoid actions like attempting to hide assets or engaging in fraudulent transfers, which carry severe penalties including fines and potential criminal charges. At Quinn & Lynch, our expertise in divorce law enables our Tampa property division lawyers to help clients legally protect assets during and after divorce, preventing legal repercussions and ensuring they retain their rightful possessions.

Protecting Assets Before Divorce

If you don’t want your personal property to be considered marital property in your divorce, there are proactive measures you can take to protect assets before the marital dissolution. Our Tampa asset protection lawyers can help with pre-divorce planning and an asset protection strategy that includes some of the following:

An asset protection strategy that is increasingly popular among individuals looking to safeguard their wealth is the establishment of an asset protection trust or an irrevocable trust. Asset protection trusts are designed specifically to provide a legal barrier between the trust’s assets and potential creditors, including scenarios involving divorce.

When assets are transferred into an irrevocable trust, they become irrevocable trust assets, which means they are generally removed from the grantor’s taxable estate and are legally protected from most claims, including those by future creditors or ex-spouses in divorce proceedings. This makes the irrevocable trust a robust tool for protecting wealth, as the assets placed within it cannot easily be accessed by others once the trust has been established and funded.

A Family Limited Partnership (FLP) is an asset protection strategy used to shield assets from marital property division. Formed by family members, typically for business or investment reasons, an FLP involves at least one family member acting as a general partner with control over the partnership’s operations, while other members may contribute capital as limited partners with restricted control and liability. During a divorce, an individual can transfer separate property, such as business interests or investments, into the FLP. By strategically structuring the partnership, assets can be protected from being classified as marital property.

Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) serve as a critical type of retirement account that can be impacted during the division of assets in a divorce. Generally, any contributions made to retirement accounts before marriage are considered separate property of the contributing spouse. However, contributions made during the marriage are typically viewed as marital property and thus subject to division.

Protecting assets within an IRA involves understanding how these individual retirement accounts are treated during a divorce. Contributions and growth that occur during the marriage could be divisible, whereas the initial balance prior to marriage remains as separate property. Withdrawals from an IRA are considered tax-free assets only if done under qualified conditions; otherwise, the withdrawing spouse may need to pay taxes on the amount. It’s essential to consider these factors when discussing asset protection strategies with a certified divorce financial analyst to ensure that both parties receive a fair settlement without unexpected tax burdens.

Judgment-proof asset protection involves strategies that enhance the security of assets from creditors and legal claims, one of the most effective being Offshore Trusts. Offshore trusts are established under the jurisdiction of countries with favorable legal frameworks that prioritize privacy and asset protection.

Setting up an Offshore Trust involves transferring separate assets out of the country into a legal entity in a jurisdiction that does not recognize foreign judgments easily, thereby shielding these separate properties from potential claims. This type of asset protection is particularly appealing to those who wish to ensure significant wealth is safeguarded against severe legal threats. However, it’s essential to navigate these matters with thorough legal advice to ensure compliance with all international laws and regulations and to maintain ethical standards in asset protection practices.

Those looking to establish an offshore trust should consult with an experienced estate planning attorney or financial advisor to ensure compliance with the relevant laws and regulations.

What is a prenup? Premarital agreements, also known as prenuptial agreements or prenups, can also help protect assets from divorce division. Why get a prenup? By addressing financial matters upfront, a prenuptial agreement can help safeguard separate property, inheritance rights, and business interests, minimizing conflicts and uncertainties in the event of a divorce.

A postnuptial agreement, or post-nuptial agreement, is similar to a prenuptial agreement but is negotiated after the marriage is established. Spouses enter into postnuptial agreements after their marriage to address financial matters, asset division, and other issues in the event of divorce or death. Just like prenuptial agreements, postnuptial agreements allow spouses to outline the division of assets, ensuring both parties agree on how property will be distributed after a divorce and avoiding potential conflicts.

Another great way to protect your separate assets from property division is by keeping them in a separate bank account. Funds held in a separate bank account are generally considered separate property, especially if they were acquired before the marriage or kept separate throughout the marriage. By keeping funds separate from any joint account, individuals can clearly establish ownership of these assets, regardless of whether they were acquired before or during the marriage.

However, these accounts need to be established and managed correctly, so it’s important to seek advice from a Tampa asset protection lawyer who can ensure your account is in accordance with the applicable laws. 

how to protect assets from divorce in Tampa

How to Protect Assets From Divorce in Florida

Even after a divorce is finalized and a divorce decree issued, your assets may still be vulnerable to claims by your ex-spouse if you don’t adhere to the decree’s terms. For example, ignoring court orders can lead to legal action by your former spouse under an equitable distribution judgment. Florida law offers protections for certain assets from such judgments:

Under Florida’s homestead protection, your primary residence cannot be forcibly sold if it qualifies for the state homestead exemption. Even if awarded the marital home in the divorce, your ex-spouse cannot force its sale to satisfy property distribution orders. However, the property might be subject to an equitable lien for unpaid alimony or spousal support.

In this case, a Tampa spousal support lawyer can help.

If you qualify as a “head of the household” — providing more than half the financial support for a child or dependent — your wages may be protected from garnishment for unpaid equitable distribution. However, being behind on Florida child support payments or alimony could still lead to wage garnishment.

If you or your ex are at risk for child support arrears in Tampa and potentially facing wage garnishment, contact a Tampa child support lawyer at Quinn & Lynch, P.A.

Florida law also protects certain bank accounts from equitable distribution judgments and other forms of legal action like garnishment. In general, money in a debtor’s bank account can be garnished by an ex-spouse for failing to pay an equitable distribution award. However, money that is exempt from legal action, like head-of-family wages or joint bank accounts with a new spouse, may be protected from judgment. It’s best if the account only consists of funds that are exempt, but any amount of exempt money is protected from legal action.

tampa divorce asset protection

Florida Asset Protection FAQs

In general, divorcing without splitting assets in Florida is difficult. However, if a divorcing couple does not have any marital assets whatsoever, or they have an extensive prenuptial agreement that protects all assets from distribution, the couple may not have to split their assets in the divorce. If you are curious about whether or not you can avoid property distribution in your own divorce, contact a local divorce attorney who can evaluate the unique circumstances of your divorce. 

Non-marital property, or separate property, cannot be separated in the divorce. However, separate property may be subject to legal action like garnishment if someone fails to uphold their responsibilities to their ex-spouse, like paying alimony. 

If you are the grantor of a trust, and you want to protect the assets of the trust from a beneficiary’s divorce proceedings, be sure to establish clear terms when developing the trust. For example, you can specify that the trust’s assets are solely for the benefit of the beneficiary, which could prevent the trust from being considered marital property. 

Yes, divorce assets can be taxed, so if you receive assets through equitable distribution, you may be required to pay taxes on them. A divorce attorney can help you understand the tax implications of all of your marital assets and ensure you receive tax-free assets whenever possible.

How a Tampa Family Law Attorney Can Help Shield Assets From Divorce

In a divorce, you’ll want to retain as many of your personal assets as possible. If you want to ensure your property is protected from being distributed in your divorce, a Tampa asset protection attorney at Quinn & Lynch, P.A. can help. With our experience handling a wide variety of Florida divorce cases, our Tampa family law and divorce attorney team can easily guide you through the asset protection process and ensure your personal assets are protected from divorce.  

Our Tampa asset protection attorneys understand the unique challenges that come with divorce, and we’re committed to compassionately providing our clients with the legal services they need to complete their divorce. 

Call us at 813-223-7739 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney on our team. 

Contact Our Experienced, Dedicated Divorce & Family Law Lawyers Today

As a dedicated family law practice in the Tampa Bay area, we work one on one with our clients, resulting in representation that is characterized by genuine care and understanding. If you are dealing with divorce or other family law issues, please contact at 813-223-7739  to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced family and divorce attorneys.