At some point, divorce surprises everyone. Even an unhappy spouse who planned long for divorce eventually comes up against the unanticipated. Too often, that surprise comes when a couple tries to divide their property.
In New York, and anywhere else, spouses who can generally agree on how to divide their estate experience less conflict, and less legal expense. More often in the 28 years I have been practicing, I work with clients who need real help understanding asset division — and how to divide wealth without wasting it on legal fees.
For couples who cannot agree on property division, New York follows a rule of equitable division. This means a court aims for fair, not necessarily equal, property division. When the courts talk about marital estate, it means anything obtained during the course of marriage including:
Property owned separately can be held apart from division upon divorce. Separate property might be a gift to one party like an inheritance, not commingled with household finances. It could also be a business developed prior to marriage.
Once identified and defined, accurate valuation is critical to establishing real financial worth, including professional degrees or practices. Fair valuation helps parties — and the court — make equitable decisions about property.
Avoid unpleasant surprises and always get experienced legal advice before you sign on the bottom line.
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…