Rockland County Distribution of Assets Lawyer
As soon as a couple gets married, they start to acquire property and debt together, and the longer they are together, the more property and debt they share. A large part of any divorce case involves untangling all of that marital property and deciding who gets what. Figuring out the distribution of assets in a divorce can be confusing, emotional, and highly contested. New York family law attorney Robert Sunshine is an experienced divorce lawyer and a founding member of the American Academy of Certified Financial Lawyers, attesting to the fact that he is highly trained and skilled in the resolution of divorce-related financial matters. If you need help with a complicated property division issue in your Lower Hudson Valley Downstate divorce, The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. is the law firm to turn to for knowledgeable advice and zealous representation. Contact our experienced Rockland County distribution of assets lawyer today.
How Are Marital Assets Distributed in a New York Divorce?
In an ideal world, the best way to divide up the marital property is for the divorcing spouses to get together and decide how they want to divide it. So long as the division is fair, the judge overseeing the divorce case is likely to accept any property settlement agreement the parties come up with and incorporate it into the divorce judgment. The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. can help you in this process by answering your questions, providing technical assistance, keeping the discussions on track, and drafting or reviewing any agreement.
If the parties previously addressed asset distribution in a prenuptial agreement, then that agreement should be consulted and given effect, unless one of the parties is claiming the agreement is invalid or unenforceable, in which case the agreement might need to be litigated in court.
In many divorce cases, the parties do not have a prenuptial agreement, and they are not able to come together and create a property settlement agreement, either because they cannot communicate effectively with one another or simply have strong disagreements over how their assets should be distributed. In these situations, our Rockland County divorce lawyer can represent you in court and make sure your rights and interests in your marital and separate property are protected.
In court, the judge will make an equitable distribution of the couple’s marital property, while each party gets to keep their separate property. Marital and separate property are defined in New York domestic relations law as follows:
Marital property is all property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage and before executing a separation agreement or filing for divorce, regardless of how title to the property is held.
Separate property is all property acquired before the marriage; property acquired during the marriage by inheritance or gift from a party other than the spouse; compensation for personal injuries; property acquired in exchange for separate property; the increase in value of separate property, except to the extent the appreciation is due in part to the contributions or efforts of the other spouse; and property described as separate property in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement.
Some property can be difficult to value, such as a business or intangible assets, requiring the help of skilled financial experts. Other times, parties might try to hide or purposely undervalue or overvalue property or claim that marital property is separate property and vice versa. The certified financial litigator at the Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. excels in helping his clients gather up all assets and make sure they are properly characterized as either marital or separate and that they are accurately valued for a fair distribution.
Judges might start with the presumption that an equal division of marital assets would be “equitable,” or fair. However, there are many reasons why an unequal division might be equitable, and the judge is required to consider a long list of factors in determining an equitable disposition of marital property. These factors are:
(1) the income and property of each party at the time of marriage, and at the time of the commencement of the action;
(2) the duration of the marriage and the age and health of both parties;
(3) the need of a custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects;
(4) the loss of inheritance and pension rights upon dissolution of the marriage as of the date of dissolution;
(5) the loss of health insurance benefits upon dissolution of the marriage;
(6) any award of maintenance under subdivision six of this part;
(7) any equitable claim to, interest in, or direct or indirect contribution made to the acquisition of such marital property by the party not having title, including joint efforts or expenditures and contributions and services as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other party. The court shall not consider as marital property subject to distribution the value of a spouse’s enhanced earning capacity arising from a license, degree, celebrity goodwill, or career enhancement. However, in arriving at an equitable division of marital property, the court shall consider the direct or indirect contributions to the development during the marriage of the enhanced earning capacity of the other spouse;
(8) the liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property;
(9) the probable future financial circumstances of each party;
(10) the impossibility or difficulty of evaluating any component asset or any interest in a business, corporation or profession, and the economic desirability of retaining such asset or interest intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party;
(11) the tax consequences to each party;
(12) the wasteful dissipation of assets by either spouse;
(13) any transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration;
(14) whether either party has committed an act or acts of domestic violence, as described in subdivision one of section four hundred fifty-nine-a of the social services law, against the other party and the nature, extent, duration and impact of such act or acts;
(15) in awarding the possession of a companion animal, the court shall consider the best interest of such animal. “Companion animal”, as used in this subparagraph, shall have the same meaning as in subdivision five of section three hundred fifty of the agriculture and markets law; and
(16) any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.
When you are arguing for an unequal distribution of marital assets or there are assets of particular importance to you, The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. can put together a strong case based on all relevant factors that persuasively demonstrates your needs to the court.
Contact The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine Today
Property division is one of the most important and complex aspects of your divorce. Trust The Law Office of Robert S. Sunshine, P.C. to represent your interests diligently and effectively inside and outside of the courtroom. Contact our experienced Rockland County distribution of assets lawyer today.