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Correcting a mistake in marital property division

Other than children, division of martial property is probably the most important and contentious part of a Long Island divorce. Both spouses must be ready to demonstrate their claims to marital property if they are not simply -- or amicably -- dividing property acquired during their marriage.

The state of New York stands by the concept of equitable distribution when it comes to dividing marital property previous to the conclusion of a divorce. This means that spouses are entitled to allotments of shared property equal to their investment or apparent claim to the property.

This is different than equal distribution, which would simply divide all marital property in half. Equitable distribution takes into account the work or financial risk undertaken by each spouse, usually decided by a judge in the presiding court.

A divorce case challenged a ruling on equitable distribution based on the belief that a mistake was made regarding the value of marital property that a man believed unfairly enriched his wife. The resultant decision claims that a judgment may be reversed if the mistake was made by one party, not both, and enriched the other party.

"The mistake must exist at the time the contract is entered into and must be substantial," according to the court ruling. "The idea is the agreement as expressed, in some material respect, does not warrant the 'meeting of the minds' of the parties."

An attorney will be able to help divorcing parties discover such mistakes and make the appropriate claims in a Nassau County or Suffolk County court.

Source: Nassau County Bar Association, "Boundary Lines: post Madoff," Nancy Gianakos, accessed Dec. 11, 2017

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