Legal Question in Family Law in New York

Pre-Marital Assets

Question: New York or New Jersey.

If there is NO pre-nuptual agreement in place, what rights/entitlements does your spouse have to your pre marital assets, including cash and real estate?

Cash - Maintained in a separate bank account with only your name on it.

Real Estate - Property held only in your name.

Is time a factor?

Asked on 1/10/02, 1:13 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Jeremy Morley Morley & Trager
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Re: Pre-Marital Assets

Separate property will remain as separate property, even during a marriage, unless it is partially or entirely converted to marital property by the actions of the parties. For example, if the husband has a house which he purchased before the marriage but if the wife pays the mortgage or contributes to the cost of renovation then a portion of the house will become marital property subject to equitable distribution in the event of a divorce. This is not legal advice. For a specific and detailed analysis of your situation we would need to talk directly. Jeremy Morley -- jmorley@bigplanet.com 888-393-1923

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1/15/02, 9:20 am
John Hayes The Law Office of John M. Hayes
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Re: Pre-Marital Assets

I cannot speak to the status of the law on this issue in New Jersey.

In NY State: if your question is posed from the perspective of someone who is already/currently married, but who can identify pre-marital assets such as you note, it is generally the case that those assets will always be deemed to be your separate property and not subject to equitable distribution.

HOWEVER, particularly with regard to the house, there are events / circumstances that might take place during the course of a marriage that *could* give the other party a basis for claiming that the status of that property had changed. For example: if the spouse made significant contributions of money / effort to the upkeep of the property, it could be determined that the spouse had 'earned' certain "marital property-like" equity in the property.

These issues can get a little complicated. If you suspect that you might be subject to such a claim, you would be wise to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney.

Regards, etc.,

J.M. Hayes

>>--> The foregoing amounts to musings and observations based on some years familiarity with the 'day-to-day' operation of the law with regard to the issues involved In The Most General sense; my remarks should not be thought of as "legal advice and counsel" in the formal sense of that phrase, since there is, in fact, no 'attorney / client' relationship existing between us. <-<<

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1/10/02, 8:11 pm
Daniel Clement Law Offices of Daniel Clement
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Re: Pre-Marital Assets

Your separate property will remain your separate property. However, if your assets are substantial, you may want to consider a pre-nuptial agreement.

Let me know if I can be of assistance.

Daniel Clement

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1/10/02, 2:57 pm

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