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What is considered separate property in a high asset divorce?

Through a marriage in New York, the couple may amass a number of assets as they build their life together. If the couple divorces, they will have to separate all of those assets. As our readers may imagine, the more assets that a couple has obtained during the marriage, the division of those assets can be more difficult and complicated. However, when a couple starts a high-asset divorce, they must first determine what is marital property and what is separate property.

Generally, things that a person owned before a marriage is separate property and the spouse does not have any interest in it during a divorce. Any property or money obtained during the marriage is marital property, which must be divided during the divorce.

However, there are some exceptions to these rules. If a person comingles separate property with marital property during the marriage, that separate property could become marital. Also, if the spouse helped make separate property more valuable during the marriage, then they may be entitled to a portion as well.

There are also some exceptions for marital property as well. Inheritances from family members other than the spouse, even if it is obtained during the marriage, generally will be considered separate property during the divorce. Also, if one spouse received compensation for personal injuries during the marriage, that compensation will remain separate. In addition to those, if property is obtained during the marriage using separate property it may also remain separate property.

High-asset divorces in New York can be very complicated. Sometimes simply figuring out what is marital property and what is separate property can be difficult. However, that process is essential if a spouse wants to keep what they brought into the marriage as their own.

Source: New York City bar, "Divorce & Property Rights" accessed on June 13, 2016

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