What Happens to My Property in a New York City Divorce?
An experienced attorney can help protect your property during all stages of divorce proceedings. Divorce laws, especially those related to property, vary across different countries and different states. So if you are filing for divorce in New York City it is important to hire a lawyer who practices New York divorce law.
The legal system in New York distinguishes between separate property and marital property. Examples of separate property include assets held before the marriage or gifts or inheritance given to one spouse. Separate property generally is not split between the parties after a divorce. Marital property includes assets acquired during the marriage. The courts expect this property to be split equitably between the parties. However, equitable division of property is not necessarily 50-50. Various factors such as the length of the marriage and the amount each party contributed to the acquisition of the asset will determine who gets the lion’s share.
The first step to protecting your property is to make a list of property held by both parties. A good divorce lawyer can help you brainstorm for assets. Some parties might lose out on acquiring assets they are legally entitled to own because they don’t think to ask for them. A divorce attorney will know what kinds of questions to ask clients. Property is not only real property (land) but also includes “personal property, cash accounts, stocks, mutual funds, bank accounts, cars and boats” (New York Domestic Relations Law, Article 13, § 236). A good lawyer will help ensure that the list of assets in your case is comprehensive. This is important because the courts can punish parties who do not disclose assets.
In addition to creating a list of property involved in the divorce, a good attorney will help you collect information about each asset to make the best case to protect your interests. This can be done even before you file for divorce. A lawyer will look at the list of assets involved in your file and suggest documents to add to the file such as bank statements or tax records. A good lawyer will also ask questions about each asset. For example, was the property acquired before the marriage? Was this a personal inheritance not related to the marriage? These types of factors may affect the quality of the arguments that can be made on your behalf.
Characterization of the property is a vital key to protecting your assets. A good lawyer will be prepared to argue assets you are entitled to own outright are separate property in your name and be prepared to handle counterarguments from the other side that these assets are actually marital property.
A divorce lawyer can also assist you in determining how the timing of filing divorce papers may affect the division of property during a divorce. For example, depending on the facts of your case, it may not be wise to conduct many financial transactions right before your divorce. On the other hand, some transactions to protect your interests may be prudent.
The Law Offices of Brian D. Perskin strive to create a winning divorce strategy for every case. When determining the strategy for the division of property, it is important to look at the overall case.
The law demands that marital property be divided equitably. If one spouse successfully argues certain marital property should go to them (for example, they need the family home because they have custody of the children), the other spouse has a stronger argument for entitlement to other assets. Furthermore, if a spouse gets a share of pension or retirement funds, the other spouse could argue for a reduction in the amount or duration of maintenance that is required.
All these nuances in the law can be overwhelming so many clients find it reassuring to hire a top divorce lawyer to help guide them through their divorce.
Contact the Law Offices of Brian D. Perskin and get started with your divorce proceedings by visiting us online or calling 646-760-1719.