Marital and Separate Property, and Prenuptial Agreements

If you and your spouse decide to divorce, then one of the most hotly contested issues will be who gets what. Property distribution is often one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce, especially if there is a lot to divide, and if there are no children from the marriage. A prenuptial agreement might be the way to go. 

New York Uses Equitable Distribution

In New York, when a couple legally separates, their property goes through the process of equitable distribution. This means that the divorce court looks over the assets that you and your spouse have accumulated during the marriage – the marital property – and tries to distribute them as fairly, or as equitably, as possible. Typically, this results in a 50/50 split, or something close to it.

Marital Property Versus Separate Property

A key aspect of equitable distribution is that it only impacts property or other assets that fall under the category of “marital property.” Marital property is what was accumulated during the marriage, or by using funds that came from work performed during the marriage. Importantly, it does not include separate property, which was obtained outside of the marriage.

However, separate property can turn into marital property if it is not isolated from the pot of marital property. Additionally, separate property can easily be confused with marital property if it is used for things that are integral to the family. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the property you bring into a marriage remains under the guise of separate property.

Prenuptial Agreements Can Help

One of the best ways to make sure that your separate property does not become marital property or get confused with it is to execute a prenuptial agreement before your marriage. One of the prime reasons for making a prenuptial agreement is to protect your property in the future. In the agreement, you can list the property that you are bringing into the marriage, and specify that these assets are to remain separate property. In this way, you can avoid a huge hassle, should you and your spouse ever decide to divorce, and you can rest assured that the property will stay with you.

The Bombardo Law Office Can Help

If you want to execute a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot with your significant other, contact the Syracuse family law attorneys at the Bombardo Law Office, P.C. online or at (315) 488-5544 to discuss your options and start planning for your future.

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