BROOKLYN, New York. If you are getting divorced in Brooklyn, New York one of the big questions you’ll need to answer involves the division of assets. New York law offers guidelines about how assets are to be divided during divorce. The courts will consider differently the assets and property you acquired before your marriage from the assets and properties acquired during your marriage.
How do the courts differentiate between assets from before the marriage and assets from after? According to the New York City Bar, marital property includes any property you and your spouse purchased during the marriage, personal property (like cars or boats) purchased during the marriage, cash, retirement accounts, or any other investments earned or acquired during the marriage, gifts, and any permits acquired during the marriage to run a business (for example, a liquor license).
Separate property includes any real estate purchased before the marriage, cars or personal property owned before the marriage, inheritance or gifts received before or during the marriage, or any property defined as separate due to a prenuptial agreement.
However, division of property can sometimes become complex and this is where speaking to a qualified divorce lawyer like the Elliot Green Law Offices in Brooklyn, New York can be helpful. For example, if you receive compensation for personal injuries, the compensation you receive for medical expenses and other losses may be considered separate property, but compensation for lost wages may be considered marital property. If the value of your independent assets increases, generally the increase in value belongs to the partner who owned the property prior to the marriage. So, if your separately owned real estate has increased in value, generally that increase will belong to you. However, the courts may view the increase in value as marital property if your spouse contributed to the maintenance or upkeep of the estate.
In New York, property isn’t divided 50/50. Instead, it is divided “equitably.” The courts will consider what is fair to each spouse and divide assets accordingly. According to the New York City Bar, the courts consider 13 factors when making decisions about what is equitable division of a couple’s property. These factors include:
- Income and property of each partner when entering the marriage and income and property at the time the couple gets divorced.
- How long the marriage lasted and the health of each partner in the marriage.
- The court will also consider the presence of minor children. If one partner will have primary custody of the children, the court may consider whether it is in the best interests of the children to give the custodial partner the family home.
- Loss of inheritance or pension due to the divorce.
- Loss of health insurance benefits due to the divorce.
- Alimony or maintenance awards provided by the court will also be considered when dividing property.
- The court will also consider the contributions each spouse made to the marriage. For example, the courts will take into account how a wife’s choice to stay home to raise the children may have impacted her earning capacity. Or, the court may consider how one partner’s support allowed the other to obtain advanced degrees or grow a business.
- The court will also consider how easily marital property can be converted to cash.
- The court will also consider the future circumstances of each person. For example, does one partner work in a field where higher earnings are expected? Is one partner compromised due to poor health?
- The court will also consider the value of assets that are more difficult to place a value upon, like a couple’s business.
- The court will consider the tax implications of dividing retirement funds and other accounts.
- The court will also consider whether one partner spent marital property on girlfriends or boyfriends or if one partner gambled away money or spent it irresponsibly.
- The court will also consider the sell-off of property at less than market value when making determinations of awards. If a spouse tried to sell off assets for less than market value, this spouse may still be responsible for dividing that asset for its full value.
Clearly, division of asset determinations can become complex. New York Courts recommend that couples getting divorced meet with a lawyer to assist them with the complicated questions that can arise. Despite this, many couples can resolve their differences outside of court with the assistance of a qualified divorce lawyer who can help you understand your rights and navigate the law. Visit the divorce lawyers at the Elliot Green Law Offices in Brooklyn, New York today to receive assistance in dividing your marital assets.
Elliot Green Law Offices
32 Court Street, Suite 404
Brooklyn, NY 11201