When you took your vows and walked down the aisle, you never fathomed that you would arrive at this moment. There’s no path forward and you’re forced to seek a divorce. You’re concerned about how it will affect your children, family and relationships with friends.
But you’ve also worked very hard to build assets. Maybe you own a vacation property on the coast. Perhaps, you own a business with your soon-to-be former spouse. Most likely, you have cash, stocks, financial securities, IRAs, 401Ks, automobiles and other high-value belongings. You want to protect those assets.
A prenuptial agreement will define the division of assets when a marriage ends, but if you’re moving forward with divorce and one is not in place, it is most likely too late for that.
Former Community property state
New York state was a community property state, but it is now an equitable division state for a more fair and balanced disbursement of property assets. Under community property laws, the spouse with his or her name on the title of the home retained ownership of the home, even if the other spouse paid on the mortgage.
Equitable division state
New York’s equitable division law considers the contribution of each spouse into the marriage. Property is equitably split between the spouse, but that does not mean a 50/50 of all assets. Thus, a higher earner and contributor to the marriage’s estate has a larger claim and should retain a commensurate amount of the assets.
The State of New York takes many mitigating factors into account when splitting marital assets.
Factors for division of assets
- Age and health of each spouse
- Each spouse's assets or income before marriage and after divorce filing
- Earning potential and probable future financial status
- Child custody and parental needs for living at family residence
- Marital property that’s liquid or non-liquid
- Has either spouse squandered marital assets
- Financial impropriety by selling or transferring property in anticipation of a divorce
Divorce is a difficult time because so much is at stake. But if you’re a high-wage earner and have contributed more financially to your marriage, you have a valid and verifiable claim to more of the marital assets.