New York Court Explains Evidence Used in Equitable Distribution Determinations

Pursuant to New York law, when a married couple divorces, the court will typically distribute their marital property in an equitable manner. While in some instances, the process is relatively straightforward, in others, it can be complicated. For example, if the parties comingle separate and marital assets, they may have to provide proof of the nature of the property to establish their ownership interests. Recently, a New York court discussed what level of proof is required in an opinion in which it upheld the trial court’s equitable distribution determination. If you need assistance ending your marriage, it is prudent to consult a New York divorce attorney to evaluate your options.

Background of the Case

It is reported that the husband and the wife divorced. The trial court entered a final judgment in which it determined that the husband’s business held a value of $691,000. Additionally, it granted the wife a credit of $150,000 for her separate property contribution to the marital home. The court made additional determinations with regard to imputed income, attorneys’ fees, and child support calculations. The husband appealed, arguing in part that the trial court erred in granting the wife credit for a portion of the value of the marital home and for adopting her expert’s assessment of the value of his business.

Evidence Used in Making Equitable Distribution Determinations

On appeal, the court affirmed the trial court ruling. In doing so, the court stated that the trial court’s decision to grant the wife a separate property credit amounting to $150,000 for the acquisition of the marital apartment was deemed appropriate. The court explained that the trial court’s reasoning aligned with established New Your case law holding that a spouse’s entitlement to receive credit for their contribution of separate property toward the purchase of a shared marital residence, which includes any contribution that can be directly traced to separate property.

The court conceded that the wife didn’t provide a comprehensive paper trail establishing the source of funds used for the down payment and closing costs. It explained, however, that the available record substantiated the conclusion that a premarital brokerage account, established by the wife’s father in her name and consistently contributed to since her childhood, was the sole plausible source of these funds. As such, the court affirmed the final judgment with regard to the wife’s separate property interest in the marital home.

With regard to the husband’s challenge to the court’s determination of his business’s value, the court ruled he waived the right to argue that the court erred in excluding neutral expert testimony, as he did not appeal the decision that denied his request to introduce such testimony.

Talk to a Dedicated New York Attorney

Most marital property is subject to equitable distribution, but equitable does not necessarily mean equal, and it is imperative that people contemplating ending their marriage understand how divorce may alter their finances. If you want to learn more about the financial implications of dissolving your marriage, it is smart to talk to a lawyer as soon as possible. Ksenia Rudyuk is a dedicated New York divorce attorney who can take the measures necessary to help you protect your interests. You can contact Ms. Rudyuk via the form online or at 212-706-2001 to set up a meeting.

Contact Information