Life-Altering ‘Money Rules’ You Must Know for Divorce
There are critical money rules hidden in your marriage contract that you should be aware of before the divorce process begins, or is even contemplated. You might assume that assets will be split 50-50 upon divorce however, this isn’t necessarily the case: In New York, marital assets are divided based on equitable distribution, which typically means division based upon whatever the court considers to be fair, depending upon factors such as contribution to the marriage and financial need.
While marriage generally involves two people combining their assets and liabilities, there are also additional, life-altering money changes that occur during both marriage and divorce, depending upon case-specific factors, such as whether the couple signed a prenuptial agreement, as we describe below:
How Prenups Help Avoid Costly Legal Battles
If you own an asset prior to marriage, it can remain separate property. However, if it is commingled with other marital property – such as joint bank accounts – it often becomes marital property (i.e. the property of both spouses). As a result, a significant topic addressed in prenuptial agreements involves the marital home if the couple is moving into property previously owned only by one of them. This tends to be important, as the couple’s home often is and/or becomes their biggest asset.
In addition, having both spouses’ assets clearly classified and valued in the marital contract, or prenuptial agreement, is critical, as, in the instance of divorce, it will then be possible to separate out these values and determine what increase in value is considered marital and subject to division. For example, if one spouse owns a home prior to marriage that is valued at $750,000, and, at the time of the divorce, the home is valued at $1.5 million, the court could determine that $750,000 is separate property and $750,000 is marital property and thus subject to New York’s equitable division laws upon divorce.
Do Not Wait Too Long: Contact A Local Family Law Attorney To Discuss
Failing to address these details in a prenuptial agreement ahead of time can make for a costly divorce later on. If you are considering drafting a prenuptial agreement or pursuing divorce, and have questions or concerns, it is critical that you speak with an experienced family law attorney. One mistake – such as failing to properly list and value certain items in the prenuptial agreement – could result in a costly legal battle.
If you have any questions about family law, prenuptial agreements, and/or divorce, our experienced Rockland County family law attorneys can help: Contact the Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, PC today to schedule a consultation and find out how we can be of help.