Getting divorced in an equitable distribution state like New York gives a court the authority to divide marital property in a manner it deems fair (not necessarily equal). Courts strive to create a balanced arrangement, but they do not always get it right, meaning you could end up with an inequitable share of your property.
When individual property and high-value assets are at stake, you must do all you can to protect your rights. Consider taking the steps below to help secure the assets you feel belong solely to you.
Isolate separate property
Ideally, couples should keep their separate and marital property throughout marriage, but most do not practice this approach. Even so, you may still have some property you can prove belongs to you (inheritances, items you bought separately, etc.).
Providing the court with documentation showing which assets are yours alone may improve your property settlement.
Consider a postnuptial agreement
A postnuptial agreement works like a prenup. The only difference is that you enter one before marriage (prenup) and the other after (postnup). You can use them to specify how your assets and debts should be divided upon a divorce.
Signing a postnuptial agreement with your spouse early in the divorce may help you address marital property before disputes erupt.
Hone your negotiating skills
Many embroiled in a high-asset divorce dismiss the prospect of negotiating a property settlement prematurely. Remember, having a say in property division serves your best interests. If left in the hands of the judge, you may not like the settlement you ultimately obtain.
Consider working cooperatively with your spouse to arrive at a property settlement outside the court.
Guidance from a qualified representative can help you implement these and other protections while safeguarding your rights during negotiations.