I work daily with individuals concerned about division of assets during their divorce. Properly valuing a marital estate is key to fair division of property at the end of a marriage.
New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning without other agreement, a court makes property awards that equitably distribute assets and liabilities of the marital estate. Equitable does not mean equal, and courts rely on a number of factors when dividing property—including marriage duration and relative household contributions of each party.
The marital estate includes assets and debt acquired during marriage, with exception of property held separately. According to Domestic Relations Law 236 (B), separate property not subject to equitable distribution includes:
Despite protection afforded by law, oftentimes an inheritance or other separate property is commingled with the marital estate through jointly held accounts, acquisitions, and other expenditures. Unless you hold an inheritance separately throughout a marriage—or investigators can clearly track its proceeds—it will be included within the estate for equitable division.
If you have an inheritance, hold it close—and hold it separately—or your legacy might be lost to divorce.
As a Buffalo divorce lawyer for 28 years, I have devoted myself to solving the problems that affect families throughout the Buffalo metropolitan area and Western New York. As a family law attorney, I make it my goal to create a partnership of trust with my clients. People put their trust in me to handle cases that can potentially have a long-lasting impact on not only their lives, but the lives of their family as well.
Alexandra M. Rockwood is a Senior Associate Attorney with the Law Offices of Randy S. Margulis & Associates and has been with the firm since early 2020. She primarily practices in the areas of matrimonial and family law, including divorce, child custody, and child support. Alexandra is a practicing matrimonial and family law attorney as…