New York State Domestic Relations Law (DRL) Sec. 236(B)(1)(c) defines marital property as “all property acquired by either or both spouses during the marriage.” “Separate property”, in contrast, which is generally defined as property acquired before marriage, property acquired by bequest or a gift other than the spouse or compensation for personal injuries, is not subject to equitable distribution.

When parties get divorced, a central part of the process is dividing up marital property, including all assets and liabilities. If the entire equity of the marital property was earned during the course of the marriage, then except for extenuating circumstances, each party generally is entitled to half of the equity that exists at the time of the divorce.

In any discussion regarding marital assets and liabilities, the issue of retirement plans and pensions earned during the marriage often becomes a significant topic. In the case of pensions and retirement plans, the equitable distribution formula is found in the landmark case of Majauskas v Majauskas (1984).

It is important for divorcing couples to be aware of such benefits and, during divorce negotiations, to explore their value, division and distribution, since the equitable distribution of such assets could have meaningful economic consequence for one or both spouses.

Need help with divorce and retirement or pension issues? Contact Jerry Fabiano today.