Randy Travis and his manager/wife, Elizabeth Travis finalized their divorce based upon irreconcilable differences. The couple met in North Carolina in the late 1970’s and ultimately settled in Nashville where they married in 1991.
Approximately ten years ago the Travis’s moved to New Mexico which is a community property state. This means that all marital assets are divided equally between husband and wife upon a divorce. The community property method of division of assets sharply contrasts to states such as New York which divide assets “equitably” based upon a number of factors.
When a couple is concerned about the dissolution of their marriage, prior to relocating to a community property jurisdiction, the attorneys at Keil & Siegel LLP counsel clients to enter into a post-nuptial agreement designating the jurisdiction which would govern distribution of assets. With such an agreement in place, no matter where the parties eventually move and settle they are clear as to what state law will govern their asset division.
Litigants often spend thousands of dollars arguing over which jurisdiction shall apply to property division. This is before even beginning to discuss how and what will be divided. Post-nuptial agreements are an excellent tool to aid in resolving these disputes before they take place.
One word of advice is to make sure that the Agreements are drafted properly and that each party is represented by separate counsel.
New York Equitable Distribution Factors
Under New York’s Domestic Relations Law, the Court will consider a number of actors in dividing marital property equitably:
- the income and property of each party at the time of marriage, and at the time of the commencement of the action;
- the duration of the marriage and the age and health of both parties;
- the need of a custodial parent to occupy or own the marital residence and to use or own its household effects;
- the loss of inheritance and pension rights upon dissolution of the marriage as of the date of dissolution;
- the loss of health insurance benefits upon dissolution of the marriage;
- any award of maintenance under subdivision six of this part;
- any equitable claim to, interest in, or direct or indirect contribution made to the acquisition of such marital property by the party not having title, including joint efforts or expenditures and contributions and services as a spouse, parent, wage earner and homemaker, and to the career or career potential of the other party;
- the liquid or non-liquid character of all marital property;
- the probable future financial circumstances of each party;
- the impossibility or difficulty of evaluating any component asset or any interest in a business, corporation or profession, and the economic desirability of retaining such asset or interest intact and free from any claim or interference by the other party;
- the tax consequences to each party;
- the wasteful dissipation of assets by either spouse;
- any transfer or encumbrance made in contemplation of a matrimonial action without fair consideration;
- any other factor which the court shall expressly find to be just and proper.