In a New York divorce, marital property is equitably divided. While this might lead you to conclude you’ll receive a fair share, your outcome depends upon two basic but highly debatable questions: What is equitable? And, what is marital property? Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., P.C. has been engaged in a multitude of cases involving significant estates, where the questions of which assets should be counted as “marital” and which method of distribution would be “equitable” deeply impacted the divorce decree. Our ability to frame persuasive arguments supported by our meticulous inventory and analysis has resulted in consistently favorable results for our clients. If you are concerned about how your marital property might be divided, Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., P.C. can help.
In the vast majority of cases, marital property is equally divided. New York public policy values the contributions of a wage earner and a homemaker equally in the accumulation of property, and most individuals find that a simple agreement to equally divide property is what works. However, arguments are always made that a compelling interest, grounded in fairness, demands a disproportional distribution. The attorneys at Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., P.C. have successfully represented clients on either side of that scenario who needed strong advocacy to assert their rights.
In general, marital property is all property that is accumulated from the date of your marriage until the date you commence a divorce action or sign a separation agreement. Property includes vehicles, investment funds, bank accounts, collectibles, the value of a degree earned during the marriage, vested and non-vested pension and retirement benefits, stock options, cash value of life insurance policies, real estate, furnishings and jewelry, businesses, and so forth. If you are not sure if a particular item should be included as property, you ask your attorney.
Property that is not marital is designated “separate property,” which includes gifts and inheritances, lottery winnings and property owned prior to marriage. Sometimes, separate property becomes marital property. How and when this happens is the bone of contention in many divorce cases. Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., P.C. works closely with clients to create a comprehensive inventory and advocates for the property designation to which our clients are entitled.
We address pensions and retirement funds on our QDRO page. If you’re entering into a separation agreement then pursuing an uncontested divorce, you must determine how your pension and retirement funds are to be divided.
Debt incurred during the marriage must also be divided. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your name or your spouse’s. However, you must be extra careful with debt that’s in both your names. If your spouse agrees to pay off a joint credit card, but does not, the bank may successfully sue you. At Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., P.C., we fashion agreements that limit your exposure on that issue.
If one spouse retains the marital residence, issues arise regarding the rights and obligations connected to the other spouse whose name is on the mortgage. What if the first spouse refinances? Also, when real estate is divided, there are tax considerations. Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., P.C. crafts legal separation and divorce agreements that anticipate these conflicts and outline appropriate resolutions.
To speak with a seasoned and reliable Saratoga County attorney at Jean M. Mahserjian, Esq., P.C., call us at 518.383.1182. We will be happy to answer your questions and schedule an initial appointment at our Clifton Park office. You can also schedule an appointment by contacting us online.