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Home | Divorce Laws | What is Defined as Marital Property

Queens Law Firm Offers Advice on Marital Property

Attorneys protect your rightful share under New York law

If you are facing a divorce, one of your many concerns is what will happen to your property. The knowledgeable divorce attorneys at Sager Gellerman Eisner Attorneys at Law explain the law and your options, and help you protect your fair share of the marital assets. We are particularly sensitive to the issues surrounding property distributions involving professionals and high-net-worth individuals.

How is marital property divided in New York?

New York is one of 41 states that follow the doctrine of equitable distribution. (The other nine are community property states.) Under equitable distribution, marital property is divided between the spouses equitably, which means fairly — but not necessarily 50/50. Marital property generally is property that was acquired during the marriage by either spouse. Debts as well as assets can be marital property.

Nonmarital property, in broad terms, is property that a spouse owned before the marriage. A number of issues complicate this picture, such as:

  • Nonmarital property can become marital property if joint assets are used to improve or maintain the nonmarital property during the marriage.
  • The way in which property was acquired — as a gift or inheritance, for example — can make an asset nonmarital property even if it was acquired during the marriage.
  • When marital and nonmarital assets are commingled, nonmarital assets can become marital property.
  • Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements generally specify how the property will be divided during a divorce.

Gifts and inheritances as nonmarital property

There are a number of exceptions to the general rule that property acquired during the marriage is marital property. Among these exceptions are gifts and inheritances. If, for example, you personally inherited a vacation home or received valuable jewelry as a personal gift, this property should be excluded from equitable distribution.

New York courts presume, however, that any property acquired during a marriage is marital property. As a result, the burden is on you to rebut that presumption by proving that a particular asset was acquired as a gift or inheritance.

Ask our Queens County divorce attorneys about property division

To get a clear assessment of your potential property division, consult our divorce attorneys. We have 85 years of combined experience in counseling clients about property division. You can reach us through our online contact form or call us at 347.625.1038 for a consultation.  We serve clients in Queens, Nassau and Westchester counties and the New York City boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn.