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Equitable Distribution of Assets

When an individual makes the often difficult and emotional decision to uncouple their life from another person, there are almost always significant financial issues, which must be resolved in terms of dividing assets and debts that were accumulated during the marriage and/or to address premarital assets that were brought into the relationship. In New York, Domestic Relations Law states that the court is required to determine the respective rights of each spouse in their separate and marital property. This division of property occurs in the cases of divorce, annulment or dissolution of marriage. 

The equitable distribution law of New York (DRL 236B) mandates that every judgment of divorce distribute marital property in a manner that is fair and equitable to both parties. At Kule Seid-Vazana & Associates, P.C., our attorneys work with you to ensure that you receive what is rightfully yours. Contact us today to discuss your options. 

Marital Property

Marital property is defined as any property or assets that is acquired during the marriage, with a few exceptions such as an inheritance, personal injury award or gifts from someone other than your spouse. If any of the following were acquired during marriage, even if the property is held in the name of one spouse, then the court has the authority to distribute the assets between the parties: 

  • Real estate, including the marital residence
  • Pensions, 401k, IRA
  • Stocks
  • Bank Accounts
  • Business Interests

Separate Property

Separate property is defined as property acquired by a spouse before he or she was married. It also includes assets received by an inheritance or gift from someone other than your spouse; money received as a result of personal injuries; assets specified to be separate property in a written and signed agreement. The burden to prove separate property falls on the party claiming the property is separate. 

Handling Finances After a Divorce

Kule Seid-Vazana & Associates, P.C. routinely advises clients on issues related to marital property and the State’s Equitable Distribution rules. The concept of Equitable Distribution applies in every divorce or annulment whenever the status of the marriage is changed. A divorce which dissolves the marriage, an annulment which voids it, or a declaration stating the marriage was void from the very beginning is sufficient for purposes of negotiation with your spouse or for a court of law to determine each spouse’s entitlement. We will take all steps and measures available to ensure that you enter into an agreement, or receive a decision from a trial court, that identifies and addresses the existence and value of all assets within the marital estate so that you can confidently walk away from the relationship with what you deserve and are entitled to.

Complicated Situations

We’re here to help you navigate these difficult times.

Sometimes, a couple’s financial situation may be further complicated by the fact that only one party was in control of the parties’ finances and assets thereby limiting the other party’s knowledge of the true value or size of the marital estate. Some individuals even come to learn that their spouse has been manipulating and/or mishandling assets in secret for their own personal use for “Divorce Planning” or enrichment. In more difficult situations where wasteful dissipation of marital assets is taking place, significant legal steps are taken by the firm to identify those assets, their value and their location so as to piece together the size and value of the marital estate and to ensure a fair and equitable split. In particularly egregious situations of asset manipulation and mishandling by a party, we can utilize established legal remedies to hold accountable, or even legally punish, the other party and work to find ways to make the aggrieved party whole.

We utilize all legal remedies and resources available to locate assets that a party may be attempting to hide or conceal to ensure that our clients receive all that is due to them under the laws of our jurisdiction. If there is a significant disparity in each spouse’s financial resources, spousal maintenance may be appropriate, and the spouse with less money and personal financial resources may have a right to an award of counsel and/or expert fees.