In a divorce, you will need to make crucial decisions that can significantly impact your future. One of the most critical is how to divide your assets.
Given the complexity of property division and valuation, having a seasoned attorney on your side can make all the difference. An experienced Manhattan property division lawyer could work closely with you to assert your rights and achieve a successful outcome for you and your family.
Defining Marital and Separate Property
All property owned by married spouses is considered either marital or separate property. Marital property excludes all assets owned by the couple and anything they acquired after they married, regardless of how that property is titled. Marital property can include many different assets, such as homes, vehicles, investment accounts, and retirement plans.
Under Kansas Statute §23-2601, if a spouse owned property before marriage or received it during the marriage by inheritance or gift, those assets remain the spouse’s separate property. A judge has no say over separate property in divorce proceedings.
In some cases, separate property may be “commingled” with marital property, making it difficult to ascertain whether the asset is subject to division in a divorce. A Manhattan attorney that is well-versed in state property division laws could help categorize a couple’s assets prior to distribution.
Factors to Consider in Property Division
State courts do not mandate an equal division of property between divorcing couples. Rather, the allocation of assets must be fair or “equitable.” A judge in Manhattan may consider several factors when determining property division, including:
- Each spouse’s health and education
- Each spouse’s current income and future earning capacity
- The length of the marriage
- The needs of the spouse who has custody of the parties’ children
- Any tax consequences related to the division or disposition of assets
A court may also consider a spouse’s wasting of funds. Referred to as “economic misconduct,” spouses who wastefully or fraudulently spend marital assets may receive a lower percentage of the marital property. Because it is crucial to present evidence to the judge as they assess these factors, a Manhattan divorcee may benefit from the counsel of a practiced property division attorney.
Valuing Assets in a Manhattan Divorce
The first step in a property division is to document and place a value on all marital property. Accurately valuing assets can be challenging, particularly if the property is complex or unique.
For example, rare art or antique vehicle collections can be subject to fluctuating market demands. At the same time, the value of vacation homes can be impacted by economic conditions like varying mortgage interest rates. A knowledgeable property division attorney in the area could work with reputable appraisers and other financial experts to assess a couple’s assets accurately.
Complications in the Equitable Distribution Process
Determining asset division is rarely straightforward, and there are specific concerns a spouse should be aware of as they proceed with a divorce. For example, selling the couple’s family home and dividing the proceeds might not benefit their children who need a stable, familiar environment. In these cases, it may be better for one parent to seek possession of the home for a period of time.
Regarding retirement assets, the parties could incur substantial tax consequences if the accounts are not divided correctly under state and federal law. To avoid unnecessary taxes and penalties, the spouses may need to utilize what is known as a Qualified Domestic Relations Order. A QDRO is a court order that grants a person a certain amount of their ex-spouse’s retirement plan assets.
A divorcing spouse should be aware of the possibility that the other spouse may attempt to hide assets by refusing to disclose them or transferring them to a third party. These actions could prevent a spouse from receiving an equitable property division. A local lawyer skilled in property division could ensure that the opposing party fully discloses all assets required under state law.
Reach Out to a Capable Property Division Attorney in Manhattan
Divorce is challenging enough without suffering financial hardship due to an inequitable allocation of your marital assets. A Manhattan property division lawyer could provide compassionate and effective legal representation to someone going through the process of allocating assets. Call today to discuss your case with an attorney who understands how to value your assets and reach a fair resolution.