When you made the decision to file a petition in a New York court, you no doubt understood that it would spark disruption in your life, especially concerning your children. Perhaps you’re one of many spouses throughout the state who ultimately determined that you’d rather move on in life without your spouse by filing for divorce rather than remain in an unhappy relationship.
Divorce isn’t easy, but it doesn’t necessarily have to ruin your family life. While you and your ex might disagree on certain issues, a willingness to cooperate and peacefully negotiate the terms of an agreement make it possible to ensure a fair and agreeable settlement. The more knowledgeable you are about marital property guidelines and assets, the better prepared you’ll be to protect your interests in court.
Whose name is on the college fund account?
If you and your spouse have been depositing funds into a 529 plan for your children’s college education, you’ll want to consider the account an asset in your divorce. Because the funds in the account are to benefit your children, they, technically, do not own the account — you and/or your spouse do. Whoever is the account owner will retain control over the account after your divorce.
Look into your spouse’s stock options
In order to achieve a fair property settlement, full disclosure is necessary. Through complete discovery, you can make sure that you’re aware of all of your spouse’s employee benefits. If your spouse has stock options, it might be possible to create a trust pursuant to your divorce decree. Your share of the stock options would then be in trust and held until they vest or until you can sell them.
Airline miles and other credit card points and rewards
Perhaps you and your spouse held a jointly owned credit account during marriage. If you used a rewards-based card, it’s possible that you have accrued many points over a period of time that you haven’t “cashed in” before filing for a divorce. Such rewards often include free airline miles, points for a stay in a hotel or gift cards for shopping at various participating merchant establishments.
Any or all of these types of rewards may be assets during property division proceedings. If yours is the only name on the credit card account, you may get to keep 100% of the rewards and points associated with the account.
Seek clarification of New York property division rules
Property division proceedings can be complex, especially if you and your spouse were married for several decades. To avoid confusion or surprises in court, it’s always best to make sure you clearly understand state guidelines ahead of time in order to protect your financial interests as you work out a settlement.
If you have questions about specific property issues, such as taxes, retirement benefits, credit card debt, etc., it’s helpful to speak with someone who is well-versed in New York divorce laws and property division guidelines.