How does the court split complex assets during divorce?

Any type of divorce is difficult. However, one that involves a fair share of assets may prove more challenging.

Dividing assets by New York divorce laws may result in the couple having to compromise or lose control of the process. The court factors each spouse’s efforts towards the marriage when dividing things. While this may prove beneficial, it may also detract from a fair split. It is wise to consider how the court may split your complex assets, so you may decide how to proceed.

Dividing retirement money

Lengthier marriages may yield substantial retirement savings. Dividing this asset is difficult because the account holding the money is not liquid. A 401(k) is a standard tool for retirement accounts. It is not eligible for liquidation until the holder reaches retirement age. You may decide to open it and either take some or all of the money, resulting in tax penalties. During a divorce, a couple may use a QDRO process to split this money. This moves along with the divorce but is not complete until the decree.

Splitting a business

One of the most common and highly complex assets a married couple may hold joint interest in is a business. With the rise of entrepreneurship over the last decade, a startup between a couple is plausible. If both parties equally participate in the operation of the business, the compromise may prove trickier. Perhaps you both want to continue in your current positions. Maybe you want to sell the business and start something on your own. The court may offer the following resolutions:

  • Sell the company to divide the assets equitably
  • One spouse buys the other spouse’s interest
  • The business continues with a joint interest

If you or your spouse cares one way or the other, finding common ground before the judge makes the call is crucial to retaining control.