Yours, mine, and ours. These are some key words to think about when beginning or revisiting a conversation concerning money management with your partner. Some couples don’t put that much thought into the merging of finances – but that is a big mistake.
Most people think of Valentine’s Day as a romantic time in which happy couples get to spend quality time together. Believe it or not, the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day are also a very popular time for divorces.
Any large-scale life event brings with it a chance to learn a range of lessons. In fact, a great deal of our knowledge and understanding comes from having gone through difficult experiences.
Absent a prenuptial agreement to the contrary, everything accumulated during a marriage, with the exception of gifts from third parties, inheritances and personal injury awards, are considered marital property; title is not controlling. This includes all income from employment received during the marriage. Therefore, placing these monies into an account in your individual name will result in that account being considered marital property in the event of dissolution of the marriage.
In New York State, an action for divorce is started by filing a summons and complaint in the office of the county in which either party resides. The summons and complaint seek to alter the marital status of the parties and to have the Court determine appropriate ancillary relief, such as custody of and access to children, support for children, support for a spouse and the equitable distribution of property and debt.
The house is much too quiet. The last child has been dropped off at college and now you are finally free. Free to indulge in all the things you were putting off as part of your job as a full time parent. The laundry is now drastically reduced. The refrigerator doesn’t need to be replenished nearly as often as before. And you get your spouse all to yourself.
Prenuptial agreements used to be only for celebrities, but in the last few years they have become dramatically more common in the U.S., and now it’s quite ordinary for middle-class couples to ask for them.
While some divorces can be contentious and high-conflict, many couples have simply grown apart and desire to leave their marriage as amicably as possible. However, even where spouses are in agreement on most or all of the terms of their post-marriage life, they are often left with the uncertainty of whether their intended agreement is permitted under New York State law. Therefore, one of the most common questions in an uncontested divorce is, “Are we allowed to agree to this?”
In many divorces, the most significant assets – even more so than the parties’ residence – are their pension and retirement accounts. It is not unusual in longer marriages that the parties may have 401K or similar plans totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars or a pension plan that will pay a significant monthly benefit upon retirement.
In order to maintain an action for divorce in New York, the plaintiff must meet New York’s residency requirements for filing. And if the plaintiff is seeking any “ancillary relief” (i.e. support, division of marital property, etc.), the court must also have personal jurisdiction over the defendant spouse.