What Are Enhanced Earnings in New York Divorce Cases?

Understanding the Value of Professional Degrees in New York Divorce Cases

When navigating a divorce, the division of marital property is often a primary concern for both parties. In New York, like in many other states, any property acquired during the marriage is typically considered marital property and is subject to division upon divorce. However, what many might not realize is that this definition of property extends beyond physical assets and financial accounts—it also includes professional licenses and degrees earned during the marriage.

Valuation of Professional Degrees

A professional degree or license obtained during a marriage can significantly impact the financial dynamics between the parties involved. For example, if one spouse earns a law degree, an MBA, or a medical degree while married, these credentials can be evaluated for their worth and considered in the equitable distribution of assets. The rationale behind this is that these degrees are expected to increase the earning potential of the individual who earned them, thus benefiting the marital economic partnership.

How Degrees are Valued

The valuation of a professional degree can be complex. It typically involves estimating the enhanced earning capacity that the degree provides. This is often calculated by comparing the expected lifetime earnings of the degree holder to the average lifetime earnings of an individual in a similar position without such a degree. The difference in these amounts can be considered a marital asset.

Legal Precedents

In New York, there have been significant cases where professional degrees were deemed valuable marital assets. For instance, the Fourth Department of the New York Appellate Division has made rulings that underscore the potential worth of advanced degrees in divorce proceedings. These decisions highlight that not only tangible assets but also intangible qualifications like educational degrees can influence the outcomes of divorce settlements.

Implications for Divorce Negotiations

This understanding necessitates a careful approach during divorce negotiations. If your spouse earned a professional degree during your marriage, it is crucial to consider how much this could influence financial settlements. For the non-degree-earning spouse, it might mean a right to a portion of the earnings attributable to that degree, which could be substantial depending on the field of study and the career path of the degree holder.

If you are going through a divorce and either you or your spouse has obtained a professional degree during your marriage, it is essential to understand how this might affect your divorce settlement. Valuing and dividing assets such as professional degrees require a nuanced understanding of both law and finance.

Hiring a New York Divorce Attorney

Navigating the valuation and division of professional degrees in a divorce can be highly technical and complex. Consulting with a knowledgeable divorce attorney who understands the intricacies of marital property laws in New York can make a significant difference in your case.

Brian D. Perskin & Associates are well-versed in handling complex divorce cases involving substantial marital assets, including professional degrees. Contact us today to ensure that your interests are adequately represented and protected in your divorce proceedings.

Contact us at 877-826-7257 today to get expert-guided legal representation.
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