Rochester Divorce Lawyer Handles Marital Property Matters

Knowing the Difference Between Separate and Marital Property

Sometimes in divorce it can be difficult to correctly identify the character of a particular asset as marital property or the separate property of just one spouse. If the asset is valuable, such as equity in the primary residence, the divorcing spouses will need to resolve this question before they can distribute the marital estate.

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Rochester Divorce Lawyer Handles Marital Property MattersExperienced Rochester Divorce Lawyer Michael D. Schmitt has experience resolving divorce property settlement problems in cases of all kinds. We can protect your interests and avoid mistakes in the characterization of marital or separate property and debts. While our practical approach to these issues can lead to sound compromises, our legal understanding and attention to detail can help you in court if the issue needs to be decided by a judge. Contact our experienced Rochester Divorce Lawyer for a free initial consultation on property characterization issues under New York law.

Skillfully Handling Property Settlement Problems in Rochester

As a general rule, the property acquired by either or both spouses after marriage is subject to division in divorce, with the important exceptions of gifts and inheritances (property or money).  Several circumstances can complicate the distinction between marital and separate property, including:

  • Terms of a prenuptial, postnuptial or opt-out agreement
  • Appreciation of a separate asset’s value during the marriage
  • Use of marital assets, typically earnings, to reduce liability on separate debts, including student loans or the mortgage on an inherited house
  • Use of separate assets, including inherited cash, to reduce liability or increase equity in a marital asset, such as the primary residence
  • Premarital contributions to a current pension or retirement account
  • Waiver of marital interest in business assets held by a partnership or limited liability company

Property characterization problems in divorce are highly sensitive to the facts of each case, the ability of the spouses to trace payments, and other documentation such as contracts or even admissions in correspondence. Experienced Rochester Divorce Lawyer Michael Schmitt knows how to handle the evidence that can make the biggest impact in a dispute over an asset’s marital or separate character.

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We also help our clients pick their battles wisely. If the disputed asset won’t make much difference in the overall value of the marital estate, our Rochester Divorce Lawyer can help negotiate a compromise on terms that might well make a favorable difference with respect to a matter of greater importance to you.

Do you have questions about how marital property is handled in a divorce, or are facing a property settlement issue, contact experienced Rochester divorce lawyer Michael Schmitt for a free consultation.