Nyc Property Division Lawyer: A Helpful Guide
How is Property Divided in New York?
New York judges have a lot of discretion when it comes to dividing marital property. They are required to make an equitable, but not necessarily equal, distribution based on the specific facts of each case.
Some of the factors a judge will consider include:
- The income and property brought to the marriage by each spouse
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s age, health, and employability
- Each spouse’s probable future financial circumstances
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage, including as homemaker
- The loss of inheritance or pension rights
- Wasteful dissipation of marital assets by either spouse
- Transfer or encumbrance of marital assets made in contemplation of divorce
- Tax consequences
- Presence of children from the marriage
- Any other equitable considerations
An experienced NYC property division lawyer will thoroughly analyze these factors and craft persuasive arguments regarding how marital property should be divided in your specific situation. They can also help gather documentation and evidence to support your position.
Valuing Assets and Debts
A key component of property division is determining the value of all marital assets and debts. This includes getting appraisals done on real estate, assessing the value of retirement accounts, getting business valuations done, and more.
An experienced property division lawyer knows how to properly value complex assets like businesses, professional licenses, stock options, and executive compensation packages. They can also help track down hidden assets a spouse may be concealing.
Valuing debts and understanding their tax implications is equally important. Your lawyer can help determine which spouse should be responsible for what debts as part of an overall equitable settlement.
Negotiating an Equitable Settlement
Ideally, spouses can come to an agreement on how to divide their property outside of court through mediation or negotiation. An experienced NYC property division lawyer can represent your interests in settlement talks and make sure your rights are protected.
They will stand firm on issues that are important to you while looking for creative compromises where needed. If you are willing to give a little on some assets, they can help you negotiate to get a little more on assets that really matter to you.
Litigating Property Division Disputes
If you and your spouse simply cannot agree, then your case will go to trial and a judge will impose a property division. Your lawyer will aggressively litigate on your behalf and fight to achieve the most favorable settlement possible.
They will file motions, conduct discovery, take depositions, retain expert witnesses, and fully prepare your case for trial. They will also represent you in court hearings and at trial arguing persuasively for a property division tilted in your favor.
An experienced litigator knows how to attack the weaknesses of the opposing side’s case while minimizing the vulnerabilities of your own. This can make a huge difference in the ultimate settlement you receive.
Enforcing Your Property Rights
Even after a settlement is reached, disputes can arise over transferring assets, paying debts, or abiding by the terms of the agreement. An experienced NYC property division lawyer can help enforce your rights and make sure your ex complies with every aspect of your settlement.
If violations occur, they can file contempt motions or other legal actions to compel adherence to the agreement. They can also assist with drafting qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs) and other documents needed to finalize the division of retirement accounts.
Having strong legal counsel in your corner provides the leverage you need to get what you are entitled to with minimal further conflict.
Frequently Asked Questions
What if my spouse tries to hide assets from me?
A skilled New York property division lawyer has the tools to uncover hidden assets through discovery and forensic accounting. The court can penalize spouses who intentionally try to conceal marital property.
What if my spouse drained our bank accounts before filing for divorce?
Courts can consider the wasteful dissipation of marital assets prior to divorce when determining equitable distribution. Your lawyer can help gather evidence and argue for a larger share of remaining assets.
What if my spouse refuses to negotiate reasonably?
Your lawyer can petition the court to order a settlement conference or mediation. If that fails, they will vigorously litigate your case through the court system to pursue your rights.
What if I can’t afford to hire a top NYC property division lawyer?
Some firms offer payment plans or will represent you at a reduced rate if finances are a major issue. It’s worth exploring lower-cost options before sacrificing quality representation.
Do I really need a lawyer for an amicable divorce?
Even amicable divorces benefit from experienced legal guidance. Lawyers help ensure agreements are fair and enforceable while avoiding inadvertent mistakes.
Can my lawyer help me get alimony?
Yes, an experienced matrimonial lawyer can request alimony on your behalf and negotiate the amount and duration. The court will determine whether to grant spousal support.
My spouse handled all our finances – what information will my lawyer need?
Your lawyer will instruct you on compiling tax returns, bank statements, mortgage details, investment records, and other documentation needed to value assets.
If I had an affair, will that impact my property settlement?
New York judges are not permitted to consider marital fault when determining equitable distribution of assets. An affair should not affect property division.
Are gifts and inheritances always considered separate property?
Not necessarily. If separate property becomes commingled with marital assets, it can lose its status as separate property in some cases. A lawyer can help protect your rights.
Can I ask my spouse to pay my legal fees?
Courts can order one spouse to pay all or part of the other spouse’s reasonable attorney fees after considering factors like income disparity. Your lawyer can request this.
Divorcing spouses in New York have a lot at stake when it comes to the division of marital assets and liabilities. An experienced NYC property division lawyer can make all the difference in reaching a settlement that is fair and protects your rights.
They will determine what assets are marital versus separate property, value complex assets, negotiate aggressively on your behalf, and litigate the case through the courts if needed. This provides the best assurance of maximizing your property settlement.
Do your research to find an attorney who is a good fit for you and your circumstances. With a knowledgeable lawyer guiding you through the process, you can gain some control over your financial future and feel confident you are getting your fair share of the marital estate.