How are offshore accounts handled in a divorce?

Contrary to a popular misconception about them, there is nothing inherently wrong with having an offshore bank or investment account. As the name implies, an offshore account is simply an account held by a foreign financial institution at a non-domestic situs. As long as they follow all applicable laws and are candid about the existence of the account, many residents of Lakeland and other parts of Central Florida may realize a lot of financial and other advantages of putting money into them.

One need not be a particularly brilliant businessperson or independently wealthy in order to establish such an account. However, it is vitally important for anyone who owns or wants to own an offshore account to realize that, like other property, such accounts are subject to property division after a Florida divorce or legal separation. As is the case with most other states, during a divorce, Florida law requires a judge to divvy up marital property in an equitable manner.

While this does not require a perfect 50-50 split, it does mean that a person with an offshore account is in all likelihood going to have to disclose its existence in the event of a divorce. Moreover, if the account is considered marital property, the owner may have to navigate the legal system of the foreign country, as well as within Florida, in order to obtain additional information about the account or divide it.

Also, even though the owner of the account must disclose its existence, he or she may have good arguments that the account should belong to him or her outright as separate property not subject to division in the divorce. Whatever the case, divorcing couples should understand how their finance, no matter the type, will be treated in a divorce. Whether that means disclose offshore accounts or uncovering hidden accounts, it is important that all finances are brought to the table during property division.

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