Dan Purjes on Equitable Distribution in New York
New York is one of the states in which the definition of marital property is far more expansive than in most other areas. Indeed, the way the courts in this state understand the concept of property is completely different than that found under common law. This is why Dan Purjes feels it is very important that people gain an understanding of this, particularly if they are facing a divorce.
Dan Purjes Explains New York’s Property Laws
When it comes to a divorce, there is a clear definition of property, which is that it must be something that has a value and that it is something that came from the marriage. The “thing” in question can be either tangible or intangible.
Under the Domestic Relations Law, marital property includes such things as advanced degrees, pensions, and professional licenses as well, which is quite unique. This is because, in acquiring such a license, a lot of time, effort, and money had to be spent, which means it is a thing of value. In fact, there are current arguments going on about whether an enhanced capacity to earn, irrespective of licenses or degrees, should be subject to equitable distribution. This is often the main store in the New York Times, for instance. An example of this is celebrity status, for which no degree or license is required but that does have a tremendous impact on earning capacity. The issue with this, however, is that it becomes increasingly difficult to measure property interests and this could lead to lengthy and expensive litigation.
Because it is so easy to lose an investment or asset in New York when facing a divorce, many couples now choose to enter into a prenuptial agreement. While some people feel that these agreements kill the romance of a wedding day, they are actually a proactive way of being realistic. May marriages fail, with some saying one in two New York marriages are doomed. Additionally, New Yorkers are traditionally slow to find love and get married and some end up rushing into it because they feel the clock is ticking. Having a prenup in place doesn’t mean you assume the marriage will fail. Rather, it means that, if it does fail, you can both part as friend and rebuild a happy life. Those are important issues.
Unfortunately, because of the fact that New York has such a broad and complex definition of marital property, there are also increasingly complex and expensive divorce cases. Both parties would do well to realize that the money that is spent on fighting each other in court could have been money split equally between the two and to be enjoyed like reasonable adults instead. If a prenuptial agreement had been in place, that could all have been avoided because the courts would have simply follow the instructions that both parties agreed to when they got married. It is no surprise, therefore, that experts like Dan Purjes encourage people to always have a prenup in place.