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Defining separate property in a New York divorce

The last time we addressed property division in our legal blog, we discussed how courts in the state divide property under the equitable distribution law. Due to the brief nature of the blog format, we were unable to talk about other important elements of property division. This post will address separate property, which a spouse may keep when the marriage ends.

Separate property is the term for assets that belong solely to one spouse and is not shared between both spouses. For most couples, it is challenging to keep such property separated from marital funds. The moment a couple allows separate assets or funds to mix with marital property, it is no longer separate. This means that the other spouse may have a right to part of this property.

For example, say that you received a sizable inheritance before you married your spouse. To protect the inheritance, you must keep it separated from the marital property you and your spouse accrue throughout your marriage. If you combine some of the inheritance with marital property to make a down payment on a home, it could turn your separate assets into marital property. If you should ever divorce, you risk losing at least some of the inheritance.

We know how complex property division issues are when divorcing, and we hope this brief explanation helps you understand how the process works. If you still have questions, we urge you to review our webpage dedicated to dividing property in a New York divorce. You may also reach out to our attorneys if you require more personalized advice or guidance.

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