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Are you considering or pursuing a divorce in New York and worried about protecting your assets? At The Saul Law Firm, LLP, our lawyers are ready to help you secure your financial future. We can offer you strategies tailored to your unique situation and help you effectively manage everything from joint accounts to business interests. Contact us today for a confidential consultation to learn how we can assist you in safeguarding your property during your divorce.

Marital vs. Non-Marital Property

Whether or not a particular asset is considered marital property is of critical importance when determining how it can be divided in divorce. Marital property includes almost everything either spouse buys or earns during the marriage, such as houses, cars, and income from jobs. On the other hand, non-marital property, also known as separate property, includes anything either spouse owned before getting married or anything they received as a gift or inheritance during the marriage.

In New York, divorce courts divide marital property using a principle called “equitable distribution.” This doesn’t necessarily mean splitting assets 50-50 but rather dividing them in a fair and just way based on several factors, including each spouse’s financial situation, the length of the marriage, and the needs of any children from the marriage. The goal is to reach a settlement that fairly allocates assets and responsibilities, considering the circumstances of both parties.

Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements

Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are contracts that spouses sign before or after marriage. These agreements detail how the couple will handle their assets, debts, and income if they ever divorce. During divorce proceedings, these contracts can greatly simplify the process of asset division because they predetermine who gets what, which can save time and reduce conflicts. 

If you don’t have one of these agreements, there’s no need to worry. A lawyer can still help you protect your assets by identifying what is rightfully yours and negotiating forcefully for a fair division of the marital property.

Strategies for Asset Protection in Divorce

Each of the following strategies offers a way to identify and protect your assets during the upheaval of divorce proceedings:

  • Close or Freeze Joint Accounts: To prevent misuse of funds, you and your spouse should consider closing or freezing joint bank accounts as soon as you begin your divorce. This keeps both spouses from draining the accounts, protecting the money until the divorce is finalized.
  • Address Shared Debts: Negotiating shared debts is essential. Work with your lawyer to determine a fair split for joint debts, such as credit card bills or loans. This can prevent you from being unfairly burdened with debts accumulated during your marriage.
  • Evaluate and Protect Business Ownership: If you own a business, work with a lawyer to determine what elements of it count as marital property and to assess its value. Protecting your business might involve arranging a buy-out from your spouse or compensating them with other assets so the business remains operational and solely in your hands.
  • Safeguard Retirement Funds: Retirement accounts are significant assets in many divorce cases. Determining the value of your accounts and securing the funds with a lawyer’s help can go a long way toward securing your financial future after divorce.
  • Consider Tax Implications: Throughout your divorce, keep potential tax consequences in mind, especially when dividing assets or agreeing on alimony. Some asset transfers can create unexpectedly large tax bills. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer can help you minimize the taxes you owe after your divorce, protecting more of your money.

How a Trusted Divorce Attorney Can Help

Are you looking for ways to protect your assets during a divorce? The Saul Law Firm, LLP can offer you the support you need. We work diligently to safeguard your interests and facilitate a fair division of your marital property. Reach out to us now to learn more in a confidential case review.