“I worked hard throughout our marriage and my spouse stayed home with the children. I earned all of the family income and all of our assets were acquired during the marriage from my income. However my spouse inherited a large sum of money and we used part of it as a downpayment on a summer home and the rest of it was placed in an account in his name only. We used this account to pay property taxes, make repairs to the home and pay homeowner’s insurance. Now my spouse claims that the home and account are his alone. What are my rights?”
“My husband bought me an expensive watch for my birthday and now he wants it sold so we can pay down our credit card debt. Do I have to agree?”
“My spouse is seriously ill and I don’t think he/she will every work again. Can the court award her both maintenance and a larger portion of our property? There is a history of heart disease in my family, what if I get sick after the divorce?”
“I understand that each spouse is entitled to an “equitable” share of the property, but is that the same as an “equal” share?”
It is common for divorcing parties to own real estate, cars, bank accounts, retirement accounts and other assets. These assets may have been acquired prior to the marriage or after the marriage. They may have been acquired individually or jointly. They may have been acquired by gift or inheritance. When and how assets are acquired is relevant to how they will be disposed of within the context of the divorce proceedings. Julie will discuss with you whether a particular asset is likely to be characterized as “marital” or “non marital” given the facts in your case and will assist you in formulating proposals for an equitable distribution of the marital property or documenting the fact that property is non marital and therefore not subject to division by the divorce court.
In some cases property divisions are complicated by issues of whether one spouse dissipated the marital estate by utilizing marital funds/property for a non marital purpose. Julie will discuss with you the time lines surrounding dissipation claims, your burden of proof and the type of evidence you should develop to move forward with a claim.