Syracuse Property Division Lawyer
When couples divorce, they must disentangle their financial lives. Dividing marital property is often one of the most complicated aspects of divorce, especially if the couple has been together long enough to accumulate significant assets.
A Syracuse property division lawyer understands the considerations that go into valuing and dividing marital property. Working with a seasoned, experienced divorce attorney can help ensure that you emerge from your marriage with a settlement that fairly reflects all your contributions to it over the years.
Distinguishing Marital Property from Separate Property
When couples prepare to divorce, they must make financial disclosures to each other and include an inventory of property they claim as personal or separate property. Separate property remains with a spouse and is not subject to division in a divorce.
In general, property that one party owned when they got married is separate property. Gifts to one spouse, inheritances, and court judgments are also usually separate property. When separate property appreciates during a marriage, the increase in value is considered separate property.
However, if a spouse treated separate property as marital property during the marriage, the other spouse might have a claim that it is marital property. A Syracuse attorney knows the ins and outs of property division and may help a spouse determine whether they have a claim to assets the other spouse is claiming as separate property.
Property Must Be Divided Equitably
New York Domestic Relations Law §236 (B)(3) requires divorcing couples to divide their marital property equitably. In practice, equitable distribution means a division that is fair to both parties under the circumstances.
In determining what is fair, courts consider the length of the marriage, the ability of each spouse to maintain their standard of living after divorce, whether the couple has young children who benefit by remaining in the marital home, and other relevant factors. Courts also consider each spouse’s contributions to the marriage, including homemaking, childcare, and supporting the other spouse’s business or career.
Property division can become complex if one of the parties owns a business or has a professional practice. Selling the business or practice and dividing the proceeds is often neither desirable nor feasible. A property division lawyer in Syracuse may consult business valuation experts and other professionals to help assess a business’s value and determine how to compensate the other spouse for their share.
Negotiated Agreements Are Always Preferable
Divorcing couples have opportunities throughout the process to work together to divide their property. Doing so has several advantages.
Most importantly, a negotiated agreement is within the couple’s control. The couple decides what is acceptable to them. If a couple cannot agree and a judge divides the marital property, they may be dissatisfied with the result. In addition, negotiated agreements generally result in a quicker and less expensive resolution than taking the matter to trial.
Many couples find alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, helpful in resolving their property division issues. In other cases, the attorneys for the parties could negotiate an acceptable agreement. Once the parties settle, they submit their agreement to the Court. Unless the judge finds it demonstrably unfair, an unusual occurrence, the Court will include it as part of the divorce decree. A Syracuse lawyer may further explain what is necessary for a favorable outcome in a property division case. The Colwell Law Group also provides matrimonial mediation services that can facilitate a divorcing couple’s conversations – and ultimate agreement – about dividing their property as part of the divorce.
Trust a Syracuse Property Division Attorney to Fight for You
Dividing marital property can be a painstaking process without legal help. It is vital to work with a seasoned, experienced attorney to protect your rights and ensure you leave the marriage with a fair share of the marital assets.
A Syracuse property division lawyer may help you negotiate a reasonable settlement. If your spouse will not agree to a fair distribution, an attorney could provide vigorous advocacy in court. Reach out today to set up your complimentary consultation.