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Can property be sold and debt accrued during a New York divorce?

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2022 | Divorce

Property division disputes in divorce can get ugly. People going through a divorce naturally want to make sure they get a fair share of the marital property, but some go too far. It is important to know how the law prevents either party from transferring, concealing, removing or selling property and accumulating debts while the divorce is underway.

What does the law say about property and debt after a divorce filing?

The law is clear. Once there has been a divorce filing, neither side can make any decision to transfer, conceal, remove or sell property without the consent of the other either in written form or through a court order.

If, for example, there is a vacation home that one side wants to sell, they cannot do so if the other does not agree. The same is true for a retirement account that the person might want to cash in. If the person is doing this as a part of their legitimate business, it is allowed.

Regarding debt, a person might be tempted to use joint credit cards or other properties and accounts that are in both names to purchase items or borrow money. This too is against the law unless it is approved by the other party or is done through the normal course of business.

When there is insurance coverage from a person’s job or that they have purchased and the other party uses it or they have children covered under the policy, they cannot be removed. Finally, life insurance policies in which the other party is a beneficiary cannot be changed. If there are insurance policies under which the other person is covered for automobile, home insurance or renters’ insurance, that too must be maintained.

People should have legal protection with property and debt in a divorce

Disputes over property such as business assets, retirement accounts, real estate, jewelry and items of sentimental value are common in situations where people have achieved a certain level of success. People may have valid fears that the other party will try to sell valuable items and either keep the proceeds themselves or hide it. There might be an attempt to amass debt on joint credit cards so it will be split between the two. This can spark discord and lengthen the time it takes to complete the process.

It is important to ensure that a person’s interests are fully protected. If there is evidence or suspicion that the other person behaved in this way, it needs to be addressed as part of the case. Having experienced assistance that understands all aspects of family law – especially in a potentially contentious divorce – is essential from the beginning.