Intangible Assets in New York Divorce Cases

By The Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC on July 24, 2017

High Net Divorce FAQs In Nassau CountyDivorce cases can be complex. There are potential aspects of the process such as separation agreements, maintenance payments, custody concerns, property and debt division, and others. Only the Supreme Court of the State of New York grants divorces, unlike many other states. The entities within the county commonly known as “family courts” or “domestic relations courts” work on related issues such as child support, spousal support or maintenance, custody and visitation; however, the granting of a divorce is specifically at the discretion of the supreme court.

The division of assets and responsibilities is often a point of contention between the couple. Divorces have two classifications, “contested” and “uncontested,” based on the ability of the couple to reach mutual agreements on their own.

Uncontested Divorce:

  • Both parties are in favor of ending the marriage.
  • They reach an agreement on how issues such as finances and parenting will be divided and handled moving forward.
  • An uncontested divorce is perceived as a simpler and less costly option.

Contested Divorce:

  • One party might not be in favor of terminating the marriage.
  • There may be a disagreement related to the legal reasons(s) for the divorce.
  • The parties likely are in disagreement on issues such as child custody, or the division of property, assets, debts, etc.

New York courts recognize marriage as both a social partnership and an economic partnership; therefore, it is necessary that all assets associated with the marriage are compiled, assessed, and allocated equally. This process in New York is based on the state’s Equitable Distribution Law, designed to fairly distribute marital property. Marital property includes items of value accumulated during the marriage; the item may be a result of the effort of one or both spouses, regardless of whose name it is listed in. Many assets are easily quantifiable, such as the value of bank and investment accounts, or home and automobile values.  There are also often assets that are intangible, or not physical in nature, that may be more difficult to quantify.

Intangible Assets

  • Examples include: patents, software, copyrights, trade secrets, brands, and professional degrees or certifications.
    • One reason the value of these assets is difficult to determine is that they are often absent from traditional company financial statements like assets such as property, inventory, or equipment are.
    • Are commonly referred to as “intellectual property” assets.
  • They are common in divorces where one or both spouses have interest in a tech company or a professional practice.
    • If only one spouse has interest or knowledge of the business, it is common that these assets are either intentionally or unintentionally not identified or disclosed.
    • Intangible assets that are determined to be marital property (not separate property) are subject to equitable distribution in a divorce.

We understand that the divorce process is difficult on your family. The compassionate team at the Law Offices of Paul A. Boronow, PC, places considerable emphasis on your individual circumstances and addressing your concerns. We have represented clients in the Long Island and other New York areas for over 20 years, thus have expertise in New York divorce asset distribution law. Contact our team today at (516) 227-5353 for a free consultation.

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