The division of marital property is one of the most important financial aspects of any divorce. While some couples can reach an agreement on how to divide their assets if the relevant financial circumstances are relatively simple, when there are complex issues involved, especially in high-net-worth divorces it is imperative to have an experienced divorce attorney who can protect your interests.
At Aiello & DiFalco, LLC, we regularly advise clients on Long Island and in New York about the division and equitable distribution of marital property. We have comprehensive knowledge of the applicable rules governing property division and will make sure your property rights are protected. We also have the experience necessary to protect any separate property rights.
Our team has the negotiation skills to help you reach a fair and equitable settlement but we are always ready to litigate when the need arises. Rest assured, we will work to achieve the best possible outcome in or out of the courtroom. Contact our office today to arrange a consultation.
How Is the Division of Marital Property Decided in New York?
Marital property must be divided according to New York State’s rules of equitable distribution. In short, marital assets are divided equitably. Often, that means equally, but it depends on the asset in question and other factors, including the length of the marriage.
In long term marriages, regardless of each party’s financial contributions, most assets will be distributed equally.
Not all assets are distributed equally, particularly business interests and other actively managed assets.
Establishing separate property claims can be a critical factor in seeking a division of assets that is not fully equal, but ascertaining how to prove your separate property claims through documentary evidence is a fundamental requirement which an experienced divorce attorney can help establish.
Defining Marital Property
The first thing to know is that there is a difference between separate and marital property. In a divorce, each party leaves the marriage with their separate property, which includes:
- Property acquired by either spouse before the marriage
- An inheritance or gift received individually
- Proceeds from a personal injury lawsuit
- Property defined as separate pursuant to a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
However, property acquired by each spouse during the marriage is considered marital property subject to equitable distribution, such as:
- Houses & other real property
- Rental properties
- Retirement accounts or pension plans
- Investment accounts
- Bank accounts
- Cash value of life insurance policies
- Personal property, vehicles, furniture/furnishings, jewelry, etc.
Also, closely-held businesses and professional practices are subject to division, which require an attorney well versed in the valuation and distribution of such complicated assets. Additionally, debts incurred during marriage are considered marital debts and must be allocated between the parties, including credit card debt, student loans for the parties’ children, and mortgages or lines of credit taken against marital property.
At the end of the day, identifying the marital assets and arriving at an equitable distribution is challenging, so working with an experienced Garden City divorce attorney is a smart choice.
What Does “Equitable” Mean When Dividing Marital Property in New York
In a divorce, equitable distribution is based on several factors, including:
- The duration of the marriage
- The income and earning potential of each spouse
- The current and future financial circumstances of each party
- The age and health of each spouse
- The contribution of each party to the acquisition of marital property
- The need for the custodial parent to remain in the family home
- Whether alimony (spousal maintenance) has been agreed to or awarded
- Whether one spouse has contributed to the other spouse’s increased earning capacity, the development or appreciation in their business or other property
How Our Firm Can Help With the Division of Your Marital Property
You may not know what assets exist, especially if your spouse has controlled the finances. There may be complexities, such as tax consequences, in distributing certain assets. Money may have been moved, transferred or concealed by a secretive spouse preparing for a divorce. We can help you locate, value and distribute the marital property in all of these and other cases.
Our legal team knows what it takes to obtain a fair and equitable distribution. We know how to identify marital assets, including previously separate property that may have subsequently been commingled. By collaborating with a respected network of appraisers, accountants, and other financial professionals, we will work strategically to determine the value of the marital estate. Although we prefer to resolve property division issues amicably through negotiations, we are fully prepared to litigate to achieve the best possible outcome.
Contact Our Garden City Property Division Attorney Today!
If you are going through a marital breakup and have concerns about your property rights, turn to Aiello & DiFalco LLP. When you meet with us, we will help you understand how the division of property works and guide you through every step of the process. You can depend on us to always listen carefully to your concerns and explore all your options. We will pursue all appropriate discovery, including the subpoenas of relevant financial institutions to locate marital property and trace any transactions your spouse engaged in. Above all, we will be your allies, providing guidance on how to best secure your rights to the division of marital property. Contact us today to speak with an experienced divorce attorney.
Aiello & DiFalco helps clients with the division of marital property in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Westchester, and New York City.