One of the issues that must be addressed in a divorce that can become complex is the division of assets and property that the couple has acquired during the marriage. In New York, divorce law requires an equitable distribution method. This means that each spouse is entitled to an equitable share of the marital estate. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean a 50/50 division. It does mean that the court will examine a variety of factors and then make a determination of what the fairest way is to divide the assets. These factors can include the spouses’ incomes, the couple’s standard of living while they were married, how each spouse contributed to the marriage, and what each spouse’s future income potential is.
Marital Asset Worth
In order to decide how the marital estate should be distributed in the most accurate and fairest way possible, the court needs to know how much each of the couple’s assets is worth. In some cases, it is easy to obtain that value. For example, the value of a savings account can be determined by obtaining the balance of that account from the bank. Obtaining the value of a vehicle is also fairly easy, as one can simply research the vehicle’s fair market value.
In other cases, the value of an asset may be more difficult to determine due to its uniqueness. It is also possible that the value of the asset shifts fairly often. One example of a uniquely valued asset is the couple’s home. Each home is different, depending on its location, style, upgrades, and upkeep. In order to determine the value of the marital home, the court will usually accept the testimony of someone who specializes in that area, such as an appraiser. An appraiser will investigate an array of factors to determine a property’s value, such as the sales history of other homes in the neighborhood and other homes of similar quality and size.
Other unique assets the couple may own that could be considered part of the marital estate include artwork, jewelry, high-end or antique furniture, collectibles, and boats or other recreational vehicles.
The couple may also have assets that are even more difficult to obtain the value of because that balance can quickly change from day to day. Stocks fall into this category. The balance of the couple’s stock portfolio may be $x today, but tomorrow has quickly changed to $y because of market fluctuation. With these types of assets, the court will often choose a valuation date and use that day’s value as the amount that asset is worth.
Let a Hudson Valley Divorce Lawyer Help
Divorce finances can be complicated. The more assets a couple has acquired during their marriage, the more difficult – and often contentious – their distribution can become. Contact a dedicated Rockland County property division attorney to ensure that you get your fair share of the marital estate in your divorce. Call Law Offices of Robert S. Lewis, P.C. at 845-358-7100 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.