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The Family Jewels

It is a common misconception that jewelry is necessarily the separate property of the wife and is never subject to equitable distribution. In fact, many people don’t even mention jewelry when discussing assets during a divorce case. See the excerpt below for an example of equitable distribution of jewelry and don’t forget to discuss your family jewels with your attorney.

Excerpt from Ciaffone v. Ciaffone, 645 N.Y.S.2d 549 (1996).

Supreme Court’s classification of certain items of jewelry given plaintiff by defendant during the marriage as marital property was correct (see, Chase v Chase, 208 A.D.2d 883, 884, 618 N.Y.S.2d 94). It should, however, have given plaintiff a credit of $1,724 for the evidence shows that these funds were plaintiff’s separate property which she utilized to purchase a ring. This credit reduces the distributive value of the jewelry to $7,676 ($9,400 – $1,724) and plaintiff’s distributive award therein to $3,070.

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