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What can happen in a Divorce in New York if you purchased a home during the marriage with your savings and then put the deed in your you and your spouse’s name?
March 31, 2017
I always advise my clients when they seek my help drafting a prenuptial agreement to keep their property separate. So, what happens if you have $100,000 in your account before you marry, but then get married and use that $100,000 to buy a home, putting your spouse’s name on the deed as a joint tenant?
Well, unless you can show the court that you never intended it to be a gift there is a chance the court will deem the property that you bought with your own money as marital property subject to distribution between both parties. In other words, a court could (or maybe not) rule that you gifted away the $100,000,00 if during divorce you cannot show the Court that the $100,000.00 can be traced back to your separate bank account. This has been recently illustrated in a case entitled IACONO v. IACONO (App Div, 2nd Dep’t) In that case the husband claimed he used his own money earned before the marriage to purchase the marital residence. The plaintiff claimed that his $105,000 from the sale of separate property was used to purchase the parties' marital home held jointly. The higher court held that the husband’s $105,000 was converted into marital property because the husband failed to establish with clear and convincing evidence the specific amount of money that he had before the marriage and did not show that he comingled his funds with his wife for convenience purposes only. The lesson to be learned in New York Divorce cases is to try to keep your savings and assets that you had before the marriage separate from that of your spouse.