How are property rights determined in a divorce?

UPDATED: Apr 9, 2012

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How are property rights determined in a divorce?

My husband owned a farm before I met him. We began living together almost 12 years ago. He purchased a house in his name only 6 years later for us to live in. We got married almost 2 1/2 years ago and he refinanced both the farm’house almost 6 months later. We also started planting a vineyard at the farm 2 years ago and are co-owners of the vineyard and a winery. Do I have any claim to either property as marital property since he refinanced after we were married? Also, my income is $40,000 and his is in excess of $200,000. What are my changes for spousal support for a short duration?

Asked on April 9, 2012 under Family Law, New York


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

New York is an equitable distribution state, meaning that marital assets are divided equitably but not necessarily equally.  What needs to be determined first is if an asset is separate property, marital property or quasi marital property.  The intent of the parties to have property stay separate or become marital is also a factor to be weighted. You need to seek legal help here by some one who can look at the documents of the property involved and determine under the law if your actions and his actions - starting a business together on the property, etc., - is enough to give a martial label to the property.  Spousal support may also be intertwined in all of this determination.  Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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