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How can I prevent losing precious items if I divorce?

You cannot always put a monetary value on everything you own because some items or assets are too precious to you to lose. However, if an East Aurora divorce looms on the horizon, you fear you might end up parting with your prized possessions when your assets are divided. If you hold this fear, know that you have ways to fight for an asset that holds great sentimental value.

The key question in dividing up assets in a divorce is whether an asset is separate or marital property. The New York City Bar points out for the purposes of New York law, separate property is property that spouses either own or have acquired before the marriage. Marital property, on the other hand, is property acquired during the marriage and is considered jointly owned by both parties. In the event of a divorce, marital assets are divided among the spouses.

Assets that you acquired before your marriage are considered separate property and should be safe. However, if your asset was co-mingled with marital property in any way, your asset may lose its separate property status and be considered marital property. If, for example, you used money from an account you own with your spouse to fix or upgrade a boat or a car, your spouse could lay claim to the added value from that upgrade.

Some spouses deal with issues of separate and marital property with a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement that spells out what happens to certain property in the event of a divorce. If you have already composed such an agreement with your spouse, you may have protected your precious assets from possible distribution in court. Even if your asset is considered marital property, a prenup or postnup can keep it from being divided up or given to your ex.

In the event you cannot be certain if your desired asset is separate property, or if it is clear that your asset is not separate, you can still try to negotiate with your spouse for possession of the asset. Your other spouse may want an asset from you that you are not strongly attached to, so a trade may be in order. Additionally, you can drop certain contests to matters such as alimony, or proactively offer higher ailmony payments in exchange for the asset you wish to keep.

Please be aware that while this article is written to educate readers on property division in divorce, it is does not offer any legal advice.

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Hall, Ricketts, Schuller & Gurbacki, P.C.
471 Main Street
East Aurora, NY 14052

Phone: 716-243-3515
Fax: 716-652-2058
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