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Who Gets What? How New York Divides Marital Property In A Divorce.

In New York, assets acquired during a marriage are divided put into three categories: Marital/Passive Asset; Marital/Active Asset; and Separate Property.

A Marital/Passive Asset is an asset that appreciates or depreciates without the effort of either spouse.  Upon divorce, the law says that these assets are to be divided equally between the parties.

A Marital/Active Asset is one that appreciates or depreciates by virtue of one or both of the spouses' efforts.  A business started by one spouse during the marriage would fall into this category.  Unless the spouses agree otherwise, a Marital/Active Asset would be valued generally by an accounting firm and an  analysis performed to determine the degree of contribution and value of the non-business starting spouse's efforts have to the asset so he or she could be compensated appropriately. 

Efforts and contributions may be made directly or indirectly toward the Marital/Active Asset.  One examples of a direct contribution would be the non-business starting spouse working at the business in some capacity. By contrast, an indirect contribution would be something that the non-business starting spouse does outside of the business that frees up more time for the business starting spouse to focus on the business.

A Separate Property Asset is one which was either (a) acquired prior to the date of the marriage ceremony, (b) inherited, (c) received as a gift by one spouse in her or her name only and (d) an asset acquired with separate property.  The non-owning spouse has absolutely no claim to any Separate Property Assets of the other spouse unless the owning spouse does something that converts the otherwise Separate Property Asset into a marital asset subject to division under one of the other categories.

If you are considering a divorce that may include the division of significant assets, you must secure experienced legal guidance as soon as you possibly can. Without proper legal help, you may see your share significant assets drained away over a lengthy, messy divorce process, making it all the more difficult to start the next season of life. An experienced attorney can help ensure that your rights remain protected throughout the process, and help usher you through this challenging process into a positive experience that forever changes your life for the better.


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