Division of Assets and Property in Yonkers Divorce Proceedings

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The Division of Assets and Property in a Yonkers Divorce Proceeding

In Yonkers, New York, as in many other jurisdictions, the division of assets and property is a fundamental aspect of divorce proceedings. When ending a marriage, the couple must address the fair and equitable distribution of their marital assets. It’s important to note that New York is an equitable distribution state. This means that marital property is divided in a manner deemed fair and just by the court instead of an automatic equal division.

Marital Property vs. Separate Property

Marital property includes all assets gained during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title or who earned the income. This includes real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, and other possessions. The court seeks to divide marital property fairly, considering various factors.

Separate property typically includes assets owned by one spouse prior to the marriage or acquired through gifts or inheritance during the marriage. Separate property is generally not subject to division.

One challenge in divorce proceedings can arise when separate and marital property become commingled or mixed. For example, if one spouse uses funds from an inheritance to improve the marital home, determining what portion remains separate and what becomes marital can be complex. Commingling may lead to disputes over the characterization of assets, and the court may need to evaluate the intent of the parties and the extent of the mixing of funds. An experienced attorney can help ensure that one’s rights are protected and that a fair and equitable division of assets is achieved.

Equitable Distribution Factors

In Yonkers, equitable distribution does not necessarily mean an equal or 50-50 split of assets. Instead, the goal is to achieve a fair and just distribution based on various factors. The court considers many factors when determining the distribution of assets, including how long the couple was married, the income and property of each spouse, the age and health of each spouse, and the contributions made by each spouse to the marital property.

Valuation of Assets

Before distribution, the court must determine the value of the marital assets. This may involve appraisals for real estate, business valuations, and assessments of the worth of other significant assets. Individuals going through a divorce should work closely with experienced family law attorneys and financial professionals to ensure that the valuation of assets is thorough, fair, and in compliance with legal standards.

Debts and Liabilities

Just as assets must be valued, the outstanding debts and liabilities of the marriage also need to be assessed. This includes mortgages, credit card debts, car loans, and other financial obligations.

Similar to the division of assets, the principle of equitable distribution applies to debts. This doesn’t necessarily mean a 50-50 split; instead, the court aims to distribute debts fairly based on factors such as each spouse’s income, financial contributions, and the circumstances surrounding the incurrence of the debt.

Division of Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts, such as pensions and other investment accounts, are often subject to division. The primary legal mechanism for dividing retirement accounts in divorce is the Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). A QDRO is a court order that defines how the retirement benefits should be divided between the divorcing spouses. It specifies the percentage or amount to be allocated to the non-employee spouse. Dividing retirement accounts can be complex, and seeking experienced legal assistance is advisable.

Spousal Maintenance

Sometimes, one spouse may be entitled to spousal maintenance, also known as alimony. The court considers factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s income and earning capacity, the recipient spouse’s need for support, and the paying spouse’s ability to provide support.

Negotiation and Settlement

Negotiating the division of assets through mediation or collaborative law is another option for divorcing couples seeking to settle outside of court. This can be a more amicable and cost-effective approach. Mediation is a form of negotiation where a mediator or neutral third party facilitates discussions between the spouses to help them settle. The mediator does not make decisions but assists the couple in identifying and addressing concerns related to dividing assets,

spousal support, and other matters. Collaborative law is another approach where specially trained attorneys represent each party in negotiation. The attorneys and clients commit to resolving the issues through cooperative negotiations rather than litigation. While negotiation allows couples to work together to find common ground, each spouse must have independent legal representation. Attorneys can provide legal advice, ensure their client’s rights are protected, and assist in drafting a comprehensive and enforceable settlement agreement.

Court Intervention

If the parties cannot agree on the division of assets, the court works to achieve a distribution that considers the unique circumstances of the marriage and follows the principle of equitable distribution. During the trial, each party presents evidence and witnesses to support their positions on issues such as asset division and support. The judge makes decisions based on the presented evidence, witness testimonies, and applicable laws. Once court orders are issued, both parties are legally obligated to comply.

Securing Your Legal Rights

It’s important for individuals going through a divorce in Yonkers to seek legal advice and representation to navigate the complex asset division process. The experienced and dedicated team at The Law Offices of Joseph A. Marra, PLLC is here to provide compassionate and knowledgeable legal representation tailored to your unique needs. Don’t navigate family legal matters alone. Let The Law Offices of Joseph A. Marra, PLLC be your trusted partner in securing the best possible outcome for you and your family. Call us today at 1-914-964-6806 to schedule a confidential consultation.

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