Nassau County Divorce Attorneys Explain Your Marital Property Rights

What is marital property under New York law?

Since 1990, Simonetti & Associates has helped Nassau County residents navigate complex marital asset divisions. Generally speaking, marital property is property obtained during the marriage, except for:

  • Property acquired by gift, legacy or descent
  • Property acquired in exchange for property obtained before the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, legacy or descent
  • Property gained by a spouse after a judgment of legal separation
  • Property excluded by valid agreement of both parties, as in a pre- or postnuptial agreement
  • The portion of a damage award for personal injury that compensates pain and suffering or punitive damages
  • Any property obtained by judgment awarded to a spouse from the other spouse
  • Property acquired before the marriage

If property acquired in one of these ways is comingled with marital property, the court may decide that it became marital property. Or, if the spouse of the property owner uses the property in a manner that demonstrates sufficient control, the court may treat the asset as marital property. In Nassau County, if the property is determined to be marital, then the court divides the property according to the rule of equitable distribution.

How does divorce affect non-marital property, such as a family business?

The court generally considers a family business owned by a spouse and the spouse’s family a non-marital asset. However, this can change if the other spouse contributes substantially to the business, buys into the business or has any legal ownership of the business.

How to keep marital and non-marital property separate

The trick to keeping exclusive rights to your separate property is to avoid commingling it during the marriage. You can keep cash and financial instruments in separate accounts to avoid confusion, but that’s often not sufficient. And what about real and personal property? These can become commingled simply through the way you and your spouse use them over time. In these cases, it’s important to memorialize your understanding with your spouse that you intend the property to be separate. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements provide excellent protection for those assets.

Contact Simonetti & Associates for a free consultation with our experienced Long Island divorce attorneys

In Nassau County, Simonetti & Associates provides value for your money throughout your divorce. With more than 29 years of experience, we work efficiently and effectively to minimize the stress of divorce. With offices in Woodbury and downtown New York, our firm offers flexible office hours and even returns calls after hours. For your free initial consultation, call 877-385-2560 or contact us online.