Part of a divorce is dividing a couple’s assets between the two of them. This can be a stressful situation, as spouses usually do not want to lose certain assets. However, without a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, this division is often left in the hands of the court. When the court decides how to distribute property, it is broken down into two main categories: marital property and separate property. Spouses facing divorce proceedings should understand these matters, as it can impact their future in several ways. Continue reading below and retain the services of an experienced New York divorce attorney to learn more.
What is Marital Property?
Marital property is assets that are acquired throughout the duration of a couple’s marriage. This can include real estate, automobiles, certain financial accounts, family heirlooms, and more. While these are assets that can be divided between the two spouses during the proceedings, those that were acquired before the marriage cannot. However, there are certain exceptions to this that spouses should be aware of. This can include the following:
- Gifts are usually not marital property, even if they were acquired during the marriage. While this is true, gifts that are enhanced during the marriage may be subject to division.
- Retirement accounts that were held before a marriage can be considered marital property in the event that they were contributed to by both spouses throughout the marriage.
- Any property that is included in the prenuptial agreement, postnuptial agreement, or cohabitation agreement that was deemed as marital property is distributable, even if it was acquired before the marriage.
- Trust funds, inheritances, and other assets that were gained through intestate succession are not considered marital property.
What is Equitable Distribution?
The state of New York is an equitable distribution state. This determines how a couple’s assets are divided between the two of them during a divorce. Often times, people believe this means that the assets are a 50/50 division between both spouses. However, this is not always the case. Simply because an asset is considered marital property does not mean that a spouse will receive half of it.
The process of equitable distribution uses a formula in order to determine which assets go to which spouse. This ensures a fair and just division. An important factor in figuring out which assets belong to whom is the contribution that is made by each spouse to the assets. This may be a financial contribution or the time a spouse invested in caring for the asset. The court may also consider if a non-owning spouse caused the asset’s value to increase. These situations can cause separate property to be considered marital property in a divorce case.
Contact our Firm
Peter V. Mandi, Esq. is an experienced divorce and family law attorney located in Bohemia, New York. Our firm understands the impact a divorce can have on your life. If you require strong and dedicated legal representation in Long Island, New York, please do not hesitate to contact Peter V. Mandi & Associates, Inc. today.