When couples decide to end their marriages in New York after years of marriage, they might have accumulated substantial assets. People going through high-net-worth divorces will need to consider many different types of assets beyond the traditional division of their marital homes, investment accounts, retirement accounts and personal property. Some types of assets are easily overlooked but could be worth substantial amounts of money. Failing to include them in the division of property might leave people with less than they should have received.
Easily overlooked assets to divide in divorce
Some of the following types of assets may be valuable and should be included in the negotiations for dividing property. The division of the following assets may depend on when they were obtained during the marriage:
- Burial plots
- Tax refunds
- Earnings retained by a corporation
- Keepsakes and photographs
- Money that was loaned to third parties
- Lottery winnings
- Intellectual property
- Gifts exchanged with each spouse during the marriage
- Country club memberships
- Carryover of capital losses
- Benefits from former employers
- Travel rewards
Other things like term life insurance might also need to be negotiated. While a term life insurance policy might not have a cash value, negotiating for one spouse to purchase a policy for the benefit of the other might be important in a gray divorce or when the other spouse is ill and uninsurable.
Separate vs. marital property
Assets that were purchased or accumulated by one spouse before the marriage will normally be considered his or her separate property and will not be divided in the divorce. However, if the other spouse has contributed value to separate assets like businesses or real estate, he or she may be entitled to a portion of the increased value. Ostensibly separate assets such as inheritances left to only one spouse might also lose their separate nature if they have been commingled with marital funds.
Working with an experienced divorce attorney is often important when people are going through complex divorces involving substantial assets. An attorney might help his or her client obtain proper valuations and track down assets that may have been hidden by the other spouse.