Dividing complex assets in a divorce

Dividing property in a divorce can present wealthy New York couples with unique challenges. It can be especially tricky if the couple’s assets are interwoven and require an appraisal. Complex assets couples may share include businesses, retirement accounts, trusts and even real estate properties.

Marital property laws in New York

As New York is an equitable division state, each spouse is entitled to their own income during the marriage and are legally allowed to manage any property that is solely in their name. However, there are multiple factors in establishing what belongs to whom, which is often determined by a judge. The judge may consider numerous variables, including each spouse’s income at the time of the separation, their age and health, and whether the court rewarded alimony or listed in a prenuptial agreement.

Complex assets wealthy couples often share

It can be challenging to figure out how couples should split these in a divorce:

  • Business interests: Options may vary when dividing a business during divorce. Depending on the circumstances, the judge may look at factors like if one or both spouses acquired it and if only one spouse were the owner of the business, did they obtain it before or after the couple wed. A judge may also check to see if the owner legally agreed to make value payments to their spouse if they were to divorce.
  • Retirement accounts: Depending on their situation, divorcing couples may want to consider protecting their retirement accounts whether they have a 401(k), an IRA or even annuities. In these cases, attorneys can often help request a Qualified Domestic Relations Order, a judicial order that can help split these assets at a future date.
  • Trusts: Dividing a trust can cause issues for wealthy couples, depending on the type of trust a couple has and what beneficiaries are involved.
  • Multiple real estate properties: Some wealthy couples may have more than one home. Whether it be a second home, vacation home or a few investment properties, they may want to assess the fair market value of these properties before moving towards divorce proceedings.

Intertwined possessions can make divorces complicated

On top of the emotional pain felt from parting ways, partners can face extra complications when their finances and other belongings are deeply intertwined. Wealthy couples in New York looking to file for divorce may want to contact an experienced and knowledgeable family law attorney. They can assist in reviewing their complex assets to ensure they are appropriately priced and accounted for before beginning the separation process.