Dividing the Marital Assets in Half—Part 2 by Don Sinkov{3:42 minutes to read} There was a big response to my last blog, I’ll Divide the Marital Assets in Half as Long as My Half Is Bigger, mostly from attorneys. They said horrible things like: “You don’t know what you’re talking about. We don’t always divide the assets in half. Where did you get that idea?

I said, “Okay, so if I’m wrong, tell me why I’m wrong or what you do differently.”

We don’t always divide the assets in half. We add up all the assets and then try to figure out what the value was at the date of the marriage, and the end of the financial interest is the date of commencement.

So I said, “Well, that sounds pretty easy.”

The attorneys said, “We don’t always agree on what the value of the assets were at the date of marriage, so we go back and forth, bring in forensic accountants, and go over the numbers to make sure we all have the same figures.

I said, “I do things a little differently. I ask my clients to bring in bank statements or financial statements from the date of the marriage, or as close to it as they can get. I do not ask them to fill out net-worth statements. Several high-asset clients had been to attorneys first and had spent as much as $20,000 producing a net-worth statement. The attorneys had to hire a forensic accountant to go back and investigate. Then the accountant sent the information to both attorneys, who then had to agree to the amounts, and if they didn’t agree, there would be lots of correspondence that would result in many billable hours to the client.”

“As a divorce mediator, I have learned that, by the time you’re done with the accountants and attorneys preparing the net-worth statement, you will have spent more money than the cost of an entire mediated divorce.”

They agreed, “Yes, that may be true, but our clients want validation. They want to be heard. Our clients want us to go to court and fight for them.”

I said, “Yeah, but if there’s nothing to gain, why do it?”

That’s what the couple wants.

“Let me ask; what happens when you don’t divide marital assets in half?”

They said, “Well, truthfully, that could be a problem, because if we don’t divide the marital assets exactly 50/50, sometimes our clients give us a really hard time.

One attorney said that he was actually sued for malpractice because he didn’t divide the assets in half. The complaint was that there was inadequate representation because the attorney agreed to something other than a 50/50 split.

So are we dividing marital assets in half? Yes, in almost every instance.

Do all attorneys in New York agree with me? No.

But I’m totally fine with that, because I don’t agree with everything they do, either.

About Don Sinkov

Don Sinkov Your Divorce Mediator Westchester County, NY Putnam County, NY Phone: (914) 588-6258 eMail: Info@YourDivorceMediator.com