New York is an equitable distribution state. In New York City, if you are involved in divorce, the court will divide the marital assets in a fair manner. This does not mean that the division will be an exact 50/50 split between the two spouses, but the court will look at all financial and material assets including all the facts and elements of the marriage in order to ensure it is as fair for both parties as possible.
The court will look at factors such as the following before determining the disposition of marital property and assets:
Only the marital property and assets will be divided. Each spouse may have separate property that is not included in the decision and distribution. Whatever was earned during the marriage can be considered with few exceptions. A lawyer can advise what is and isn’t considered marital property in your individual case, however, usually whatever the spouse acquired before the marriage, is not considered part of the marital property.
Retirement income can be considered marital property if the retirement funds are derived from income made during the marriage. Any property purchased during the marriage just as insurance policies and debt acquired are marital property. Separate property that won’t be considered for division includes some of the following:
There can be comingling of separate property in the marriage which can then be considered marital property such as if one spouse places money from an inheritance they received before the marriage into a joint bank account.
By law, both spouses are required to disclose their financial property. Sworn statements of net worth are required along with the most recent federal income tax return for full disclosure. If either spouse does not comply with the law on this matter, the court can impose fines and sanctions on the offending party.
A New York City court will usually follow these steps during the division of marital property: decide whether each asset is marital property or separate property, assign a value to all of the marital property, distribute the assets. The court may issue a one-time settlement or a distribution over a period of years.
In the last few decades, people have waited longer to marry, which means each partner brings not only personal wealth to the marriage but debt. What happens to debt in the event of a divorce? Will you be responsible for the frivolous spending of your spouse who incurs major debt? Each divorce case is different, with different elements that are unique to that marriage, and there may be extenuating circumstances affecting the outcome, however, the following is recognized by law in regards to who is responsible for debt:
Individual Account: The party who opened the account with their name, income and credit history whether married or single is responsible for the debt.
Joint Account: This account holds that both parties are responsible for the debt incurred because both incomes and credit histories were used to open the account.
Account Users: Sometimes an “authorized user” can be placed on an account. This is done strictly for convenience. For example, one spouse has opened an individual account but wants the other spouse to be able to use the credit card associated with the account. Although credit bureaus will report the names of both parties who have access to the credit, only the spouse who opened the individual account is responsible for the debt.
Pension plans, 401K’s and other retirement plans are all considered marital property. Whatever portion earned in these plans while you were married will be considered and divided. Even some instances of separate property can be considered marital assets even if they are not comingled. For example, if the value of your individual property increased due to your spouse.
The fair and equitable distribution of marital property and assets can be complicated, stressful, and might leave one or both parties resentful or dissatisfied. Having a lawyer who can work with you to navigate the complex nature of equitable distribution of marital property can lower the very stressful nature of divorce.
Todd is a miracle worker who will work tirelessly for you and your family. He is one of the few attorneys i've met - who I earnestly trust to protect me, and who I am happy to refer to our friends and fellow family members. The Spodek Law Group is someone you want on your side, because they will treat you just like family. Todd and his team are available 24/7, and they always answered our calls. Even when we were being irrational, and crazy - they were calm and super helpful. Just call Todd. He gives you a free consultation and is very understanding.- Donna & Robert
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